CHESTERTOWN - For years, the North Warren Cougars have struggled with their softball program, due to their school's small size and lack of a town youth softball program.
In 2009, despite the team's best efforts, the season concluded with a tally of 1-15.
This year, however, may set a new benchmark for the program, as there are no less than six returning seniors - a record for recent years - leading an experienced, enthusiastic squad.
Talk about enthusiasm: the players accomplishments to date this year are formidable.
The team started their 2010 season with a 10-8 victory two weeks ago over the talented Fort Edward team.
"With our experienced lineup, we'll be very competitive," coach Shannon Phelps predicted.
"Perhaps not at the top of the league, but not suffering blow-out games like last year," she said.
Pitching for the team is solid - not blazing, but consistent, Phelps said - and the infield defense is quite good, anchored by a catcher that people say is outstanding, Morgan Tennyson.
Considering the Cougars' strong teamwork and hard work in practice sessions, the squad has considerable potential. The team has good chemistry, and they enjoy working together on and off the field, Phelps said.
The team is poised to do well this year, overcoming the deficit of not having a community youth softball league program to develop talent in the pre-teen years. Phelps said Monday she is seeking to launch one - perhaps in conjunction with Warrensburg and Lake George - to get one going.
This year's Cougar team is expected to overcome this shortfall.
The one wild-card for this year's softball team is batting, Phelps said.
"Either we crush the ball, or we just don't," she said, noting the team is developing confidence when facing fast pitching. "If we stay focused this year, we'll do well."