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CANNELTON - Many people consider fastpitch softball primarily a pitcher-catcher game, so the good news for Cannelton's girls team is it has its starting pitcher and catcher returning from last season.
The bad news for the Bulldogs is they have only one other starter returning from last year's 2-12 team--and she will be playing a different position this year.
There are no seniors and only two juniors on the Bulldogs' 14-girl roster. "We're very, very young," said Coach Brian Garrett.
Junior Stephanie Posey returns as the team's No. 1 pitcher. She went 0-5 last year, when she missed part of the season with an arm injury.
"Her control's OK," said Garrett. "We're working on her mechanics a little bit, so her control's going to be a little behind while we work on that."
The Bulldogs don't have an experienced backup pitcher. "We're trying to teach a couple of kids right now," said Garrett.
Sophomore Jaci Garrett returns as the team's starting catcher. She was one of the Bulldogs' leading hitters last year and had two of their seven hits in the sectional.
"Jaci and Stephanie, with all their experience, are probably our two best hitters as well," said Brian Garrett.
Those two have been perennial all-stars in the Tell City Girls Softball League while most of the Bulldogs have not played any summer softball.
Junior Brooke Powers, the team's third returning starter, is slated to move from left field to shortstop this season.
Shy May at first base, Nakaa Myers at second, and Hannah Baur at third will complete the starting infield.
Garrett said Monday the outfield spots are "up for grabs right now." He listed Leah Moscolo, Ashley Daugherty, Whitney Nugent and Paige Yaggi as some of the top candidates.
Garrett said he doesn't know how the team will hit because "we have yet to swing at anything other than soft tosses, small balls, or off a T."
That's because the Bulldogs had not practiced outdoors yet and they do not have an indoor batting cage.
He said the team does not have a lot of power or speed. "Stephanie, Jaci, Whitney and Nakaa are probably our top four in speed."
He said his batting order will probably have Myers bat leadoff, Posey second, Garrett third and Powers fourth, with the rest undecided.
The Bulldogs' Class A sectional has gotten even stronger this year, with Northeast Dubois replacing New Harmony in it.
Tecumseh, last year's state runner-up, is still in the sectional and returns star pitcher Audra Sanders, who went 22-4 with a 0.17 earned run average last year.
"They're head and shoulders above everybody," said Garrett. "Sanders has the ability to close everybody out - she's probably the best pitcher I've seen.
"Northeast Dubois should be good and I think Wood Memorial's going to be fairly strong again. It's a very tough sectional."
He said the keys for the Bulldogs to be competitive in the sectional are "our pitching has to stay where it's at or improve a little bit and we've got to get much better defensively."