INDIAN LAKE - The Lady Orange softball team is returning several starters from last year's team and should be the number one contender for the Division III championship, according to head coach David Olbert.
"I am looking forward to all of our games and am anxious to play the stronger teams in D1 and D2," he said. "I think we will be more competitive than last year's team."
This is Olbert's first year with the team and their record last year was 6-6.
The Orange will miss a strong outfield presence from Nicole Blanchard, Danielle Mitchell and Lindsay Skarrett who all graduated last year.
Olbert sees his returning starters as fully capable to step up and fill in the holes, however. Returning players include senior Kaylie Miller who will start on the mound. She pitched last year and her arm has much improved for this season, according to Olbert. Senior Sierra Olbert will start behind the plate for Miller, while juniors Allison Pine, Murphy Farrell and Jenny Strain will fill in at first base, second base and third base. Junior Carli Reynolds will start at shortstop.
The team welcomes five freshman to the varsity level, including Emma Gray. Gray will be shifting between pitching, third base and the outfield and Olbert expects to see good things come from the young player.
"She puts in a lot of work in the off-season and it's going to pay off," he said.
Seniors Karisa Gessen Merrill Pine will lead in the outfield with Kelsey Tebo, Colleen Nerney and freshmen Meg Smith, Morgan King, Jessica Bain and Emily Waters.
Freshman Prudance Dechene will backup Olber at catcher.
"We are working to improve our defense," said Olbert. "Once we get better at making the difficult plays, we will be successful."
Olbert looks at Minerva-Newcomb as being their biggest rivalry in division play.
Olbert is assisted by hitting coach Gary Gray and pitching coach Rick Miller who help out with all areas of practice beyond their specialty.
"Being able to work with such experienced assistant coaches gives us a tremendous advantage," said Olbert.
Lady Orange Roster
Kaylie Miller Sr Pitcher
Sierra Olbert Sr Catcher
Karisa Gessen Sr Outfield
Merrill Pine Sr Outfield
Allison Pine Jr 1st Base
Murphy Farrell Jr 2nd Base
Carli Reynolds Jr Shortstop
Jenny Strain Jr 3rd Base
Kelsey Tebo Sr Outfield
Colleen Nerney Sr Outfield
Meg Smith Fresh Outfield/Pitcher
Emma Gray Fresh 3rd Base/Pitcher
Prudance Dechene Fresh Catcher
Morgan King Fresh Outfield/Pitcher
Jessica Bain Fresh Outfield/1st Base
Emily Waters Fresh Outfield
Lady Orange Schedule
Friday, April 16 Tournament @ Lake Placid
Saturday, April 17 Tournament @ Lake Placid
Tuesday, April 20 @ Wells
Saturday, April 24 @ Westport/Keene
Monday, April 26 vs. Minerva-Newcomb @ home
Wednesday, April 28 vs. Wells @ home
Thursday, April 29 @ Hadley-Luzerne
Monday, May 3 vs. Johnsburg @ home
Wednesday, May 5 @ Minerva-Newcomb
Friday, May 7 vs. Bolton @ home Monday, May 10 vs. Crown Point @ home
Tuesday, May 11 vs. Willsboro @ home
Wednesday, May 12 vs. Hadley-Luzerne @ home
Monday, May 17 vs. Schroon Lake @ home