BLANCHARD — It was a difficult year in 2012 for the Montabella Mustangs softball program.
The Mustangs struggled to an 8-28 season, which was filled with inexperience to begin with and coupled with multiple injuries to key players.
Montabella is hoping that is not the case this year. With nine returning players things should change in 2013.
“We struggled some in the 2012 season, knowing we were somewhat inexperienced as we had gone two years without a JV team. However, early in the season we suffered lots of injuries and illnesses that just pushed us back some,” Montabella coach Vicki Sawyer said. “This season, we have everyone back and at the moment we are healthy, so we are excited to play and see lots of improvement over last season.”
Sawyer is also back this season for her second year as coach (she coached Montabella for 10 years prior, ending in 1975).
Returning players include Melissa Allen (Sr.), Allie Ball (Sr.), Cheyann Frasle (Sr.), Kayla LaCroix (Sr.), Taylor Hutson (Jr.), Emily Lint (Jr.), Sarah Miller (Jr.), Mariah Davidson (Jr.) and Sarah Ranney (So.).
“We will have some strong infielders in Ball, Allen and Davidson. All are good fielders and strong hitters,” Sawyer said. “Frasle is a very versatile player and will add a lot to our team. LaCroix led our team in hitting last year and is an excellent contact hitter, while Hutson is a power hitter who will help our team.”
Sawyer said the pitching staff and catching will be better this season.
“We have Miller back on the mound. She had a season ending hand injury last year and will join Lint on the mound,” she said. “Frasle was riddled with injuries last year and will join LaCroix with the catching duties this year.”
After going through such adversity last year, the Mustangs are looking to add more wins in 2013.
“The team should be better prepared for this season after a trying season last year,” Sawyer said. “We had a group of fairly inexperiences players last year. We look to put more games in the win column, as our pitching and hitting improves.”
Still with more experience, the Mustangs will have to contend with Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart and Vestaburg — two annual powers — in the Mid-State Activities Conference.
“Sacred Heart and Vestaburg dominated our league last season,” Sawyer said. “This year we are happy to add Carson City to the mix, joining Ashley, Coleman and Montabella.”
The Mustangs are ready to go. They just need the weather to cooperate now.
Montabella was schedule to play twice this week, but those games have been postponed. Their next scheduled game is not until after spring break on April 9 at home against Fulton.