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Cougar softball preview
DIXFIELD -- The Dirigo softball team has proven to have plenty of talent available and has been competitive, winning its first-ever regional championship last year -- hopefully will carry over this spring.
"A focus for us this preseason has been our hitting,'' said coach Sara Thurston. ''We had some great showings at the plate last year, but knew we needed to be more consistent with our hitting this season.''
The returning seniors will be an important part, which includes Ambyr Wilson at first Base and pitching last season, will most likely do the same this year; Natalie Bolduc, will be at second base, again this season; Tasha DeRoche will be used mostly at shortstop again, but could also catch if needed and Gretchen Bradbury could split time at 3B/outfield this season.
Junior Britney Ellis will be in the outfield/first base this season. Sophomores, Megan Bradbury and Gabby Scott will be in the outfield again, while Ellie Wainwright is outfield and pitching.
''Experience is one of our greatest strengths this year,'' said Thurston said. Majority of these girls know what it was like to play in the state championship, and want to make it back there again. They understand that although they might be asked to play a position they hadn’t expected to play this year, they’re willing to do what the program needs them to do for us to be the most successful as we can. We’ve got depth in our players. I can’t think of a single player on the team who if needed, couldn’t play any position, and play it well.''
The Cougars versatility will help off set a trio of graduations up the middle Alyssa Charity, catcher; Mariah Larsen, center field and Alyssa Wade, pitching/first base (now playing infield at St. Joseph College).
Some promising newcomers include senior Cami Denney, pitcher; so. Kelsey Hutchins, outfield; and freshmen Lauren Henderson, catcher. Emma Lueders is a true utility player, has a positive impact at any position she plays and Katelyn Olsen, outfield, but focus will be pitching at the JV level this season.
''I am excited about the positive leadership, enthusiasm, determination, and togetherness this team has,'' said Thurston. ''Mix those mental aspects with their physical abilities to play the game, it’s a pretty great combination."
In the conference, Thurston realizes the Cougars can't afford to let up.