New pieces hope they form a winning puzzle
Each year teams lose players to graduation and are forced to adapt to new players logging more time. This year, the Parkland softball team will have a different look.
The Trojans graduated six regular players, and eight seniors total from 2012.
"This is a whole new group of players," said fourth-year head coach Barry Search. "We're just looking right now to fill in those open positions and find the right mix of players."
Parkland went 18-5 overall and 12-2 in the LVC a year ago, while also qualifying for league and district playoffs. The Trojans were edged by eventual district champion Liberty 3-2 in the semifinals.
The Trojans lost five starters off that team, but return the most important part of a softball team - the battery. Junior catcher Jordy Augustus batted .429 last season and has verbally committed to the University of South Carolina. Also, junior starting pitchers Morgan Rentzheimer and Rachel Smerdon, who logged a majority of the innings last year, are back.
Sophomore Emma Varrato will be switching from second base - where she started last season - to shortstop. The only other returning starter is junior centerfielder Courtney Miller.
Search will be focusing on integrating new players into the starting lineup. Some of the players that may have extended roles this year include junior third baseman Lexi Oakley, sophomore second baseman Sam Pickar and junior second baseman Kelly Gruber, sophomore left fielder Madison Marshall, right fielder Abby Fritzinger, junior first basemen Jordan Hoffman, sophomore catcher Sydney Stibitz and senior utility player Megan Muthard.
"Our goal every year is to take each game one at a time," said Search. "That's how we've been preparing for years. You obviously want to set long term goals like qualify for league and district playoffs, and to be in the hunt for championships. It's going to come down to how well the pieces come together and how everybody gels."
Parkland will head to Disney to open the season, and will hope to find some answers by the time they are back to the Lehigh Valley.