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Cougar softball preview
DIXFIELD -- The Dirigo softball team has proven to have plenty of talent available and has been competitive in the Mountain Valley Conference in recent years.
That will hopefully carry over this spring because the Lady Cougars have a strong nucleus to make some noise.
Exactly how far Dirigo proceeds will depend on the abilities of the players to battle through adversity. Although the season is short, there will be times when the team is faced with a situation and during these moments certain individuals will be counted on to produce.
Dirigo won 10 of 14 games in the regular season. However, things ended abruptly with a 5-3 loss to Hall Dale in the first round of the playoffs. The team graduated Katrina Pulk and Morgan Hutchins at shortstop and third base, respectively.
There are several returning lettermen who are seasoned veterans, including lone senior Kyme Dolloff (first base/pitcher) who will form a one-two punch again with junior Alyssa Wade (pitcher/infielder). While junior Alyssa Charity will handle the catching duties.
“We actually have three quality pitchers, (Dolloff and Wade) have a lot of varsity experience,” said Dirigo coach Clint Dolloff. “(Charity), an all-star catcher and an all-star center fielder, will lead us.”
The spark plug in centerfield is Mariah Larson. The junior is solid defensively and creates havoc with speed on the bases.
Coach Dolloff admits a weakness is the loss of two great defenders and great offensive players. The Cougars youth might be a factor, but they are very quick.
Points of emphasis during preseason has been on situational hitting, fitting an infield together and trying to replace the left side of the infield. Junior Paige Murphy has moved over to the left side from second base.
A solid foursome of sophomores are Ambyr Wilson (pitcher/outfield), Natasha Deroche (outfield), Natalie Bolduc (second base) and Gretchen Bradbury (first base/outfield). Senior Brooke Kersey could be an asset.
“It should be fun to see how the team progresses,” said coach Dolloff. “Our leading run producers will show themselves as the season moves forward but will be looking at our upperclassmen for leadership.”
The teams to watch for in the conference include defending state champion Telstar, and Jay and Mount Abram, each of whom are returning pitchers and experience.