GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets girls softball team will feature a young, but talented team in 2012.
The Yellow Jackets have no seniors on their team, but does have five sophomores returning with a year of varsity experience behind them.
“We have our core group returning including pitchers Alyssa (So.) and Lexii Canterbury (Jr.) and all-conference Nikota Howe (So.),” Greenville coach Tom Hallock said.
Also returning are Beth Gantz (So.), Harleigh Lewis (So.) and Paige Parmelee (So.). Gone is, who would have been Greenville’s only senior, Katie Dunham. The past all-conference performer is running track this spring.
Lexii Canterbury is in her third year of varsity softball.
“She (Canterbury) continues to improve on the mound and at the plate,” Hallock said. “She led our team in strikeouts on the mound last year.”
Hallock also said they are looking for big things from his group of sophomores this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
“They (sophomores) have had a year of development now and are ready to raise the bar of expectations,” he said. “Combined, these girls have several years of travel team experience and we are looking to capitalize on those.”
Alyssa Canterbury is the returning ERA leader at 3.35. She also went 5-3 overall. Parmelee hit .310, Gantz had a .463 on base percentage and Lewis caught most games and drove in 16 runs.
Howe had a monster year at the plate as a freshman, hitting .492 with a .529 on base percentage.
To improve upon their 11-15 record from a year ago, Hallock said the team will need to play better defense to help win some of the close games that went the other way last year.
As for O-K White competition, Hallock said Lowell is the team to beat.
“Lowell returns a co-championship team with no major graduations,” he said. “Northview and Grand Rapids Christian are always tough. We will be very competitive in our conference.”
The Yellow Jackets opened the season with a 9-8 win over Comstock Park last week.
Lexii Canterbury earned the win with four strikeouts. Howe had four hits while Lewis, Gantz and Alyssa Canterbury each had two hits.
Greenville returns to action on April 10 at home against Lansing Sexton.