School Name: Caesar Rodney
Head coach: Paul Damask
2013 record: 7-11
Key returning players: Cassetty Howerin, Shelby Voak, Stephany Courtney, Janaya Harris, Kyra Watson, Chaney Jones
Key newcomers: Jessica Leczner, Alyssa Ball
Season Outlook: The Caesar Rodney Riders’ softball squad embarks on a brand new season a year removed from a 7-11 record last season. CR moves on without graduates Nicole Mendes, Mary Haugh, Kayla Popham, Constance Wicks, and Lauren Niezgoda. However, the Lady Riders have plenty of returning talent prepared to plug the holes left behind by departing seniors. With just two seniors, catcher Cassetty Howerin and 3B Shelby Voak, the Riders are a fairly young squad. Jordan Moseley, Lauren Polinski, Janaya Harris, and freshmen Alyssa Ball will make up a young pitching staff, while Howerin, Jessica Leczner, and Mirabella Klebart will hold down the catching duties this season. While there might be some early growing pains for this inexperienced group, their talent should take over giving the Riders a shot at competing in the Henlopen North.
School Name: Dover
Head coach: Gerald Jester
2013 record: 2-16
Key returning players: Sydney Collins, Heather Keller, Kendell Belcher, Taylor Tucker, Jackie Goehringer
Key newcomers: Karli Jennings, Tabriana Miller, Syean Deleon, Anye’ Carter, Kayla Kirby
Season Outlook: For two seasons in a row, the Dover Senators’ softball squad managed just one victory each year. However, in 2013 the Lady Senators doubled their win total to two, finishing 2-16 last season. While that may not seem like a large accomplishment it was something for the Dover program to build upon this season. Coming into the 2014 season the Senators are doing their best to revamp their program as players have started participating in off-season programs, joining travel ball teams and putting in the extra work necessary to improve. With a nice mix of returning players and newcomers, the Senators hope to take the next step in improving the softball program. With the right attitude and beginning to do the kinds of things that their winning competition does to improve, the Lady Senators may surprise some this season.
Coach’s quote: “Dover softball took a step in the right direction last year and we expect to take another step this year. We have a good mix of upperclassmen and lowerclassmen. We are going to work hard every day and strive to be a better team at the end of every day. If this happens we will see the W’s start to come our way.”
School Name: Polytech
Head coach: Jenn Bradshaw
2013 record: 17-1
Key returning players: Shaina Reed, Morgan Dodge, Kristen Ball, Samantha Burns, Brandi Dalious, Monica Joseph, Kailey Perry
Key newcomers: N/A
Season Outlook: The Polytech Panthers’ softball team ended the 2013 season coming up just one run short of becoming state champions. The Panthers enter the 2014 season with plenty of optimism, striving toward their ultimate goal. While Polytech will be without graduates Alexsandra Mycek, Taylor Humphries and Lily Engel, the Panthers have plenty of their core returning this season. Alongside pitching dynamo Shaina Reed, the Panthers boast a deep group including 2B/C Morgan Dodge, SS/2B Kristen Ball, OF Samantha Burns, C/1B Monica Joseph, OF Brandi Dalious, and OF Kailey Perry. With the majority of the team returning the goal for the Panthers has not changed, and after the experience of a deep tournament run leading to a championships berth, Polytech enters the season hungry to get back.
School Name: Lake Forest
Head coach: Charlie Darling
2013 record: 8-10
Key returning players: Gabi Cubbage, Destiny Thomson, Julia Joyce, Katherine Betts, Catera Kennedy, Holly Bundschuh, Paige Bundschuh, Monique Daniels
Key newcomers: Caitlin Records, Kathryn Simpson, Kerrigan Simpson, Faith Garey
Season Outlook: The Lake Forest softball squad will have eight returning varsity players including Gabi Cubbage, and Destiny Thomson both All-Henlopen Conference players. The Spartans expect Caitlin Records (3B/1B/OF), Kathryn Simpson (OF), Kerrigan Simpson (P/1B) and Faith Gary (Utility) to join the varsity squad as freshmen to add some depth. The Spartans believe they’re farther ahead of where they left off at the end of the season last year even without their leader and best player Colby Wyatt who graduated last year. With a lot of talent and optimism, Lake Forest should compete in the Henlopen South this season.
Coach’s quote: “We aspire to make the state playoffs and will need to at least turn our record around from 8-10 last year to 10-8 this season to do so.”
School Name: St. Thomas More
Head coach: Gerry Szabo
2013 record: 1-16
Key returning players: Olivia Stafford, Sierra Hadick, Olivia Smith, Amber Morris, Dana Mangrelli,
Season Outlook: The Ravens’ softball squad looks to rebound after a 1-16 season last year, hoping some returning players mixed with some up and coming newcomers can do the trick. Olivia Stafford, a junior pitcher who started every game for the Ravens last season will return to hold down the fort on the mound. Meanwhile, Sierra Hadick returns to solidify a young infield, bringing strong fielding skills and a quick-bat to the Ravens lineup more than likely batting third or clean-up for the Ravens this season. Olivia Smith is another returnee in the outfield, while catcher Amber Morris returns behind the plate healthy after battling tendonitis last season. After seasons of fielding small teams, the Ravens believe they could field a team of 24 or more players, all of whom could contribute right away. With depth and some returning talent, the Ravens should see some improvement this season.
Coach’s quote: “(We want) to learn the game and play like a varsity team. Big goal as we were probably a weak freshmen team last season. With our schedule we will still get blown out some games but feel we will be worth playing this year and look to improve on our record significantly.”