PORTHENRY-Pitching and defense wins softball games, but carrying a big stick helps, too.
That's why Moriah Coach Billie joe Simpson has emphasized hitting to her team this spring.
"We have focused on hitting, something we had trouble with last year," Simpson said. "Our pitching will keep us in most games. We have a good group of core players and, hopefully, the newcomers will step up and contribute."
The Vikings have nine players back from last season's 1-15 Champlain Valley Athletic Conference and 2-16 overall team. Hailey Chapuk returns to pitch and Hayley Waldron is back to catch. The other veterans will be playing new positions as Simpson shakes up her roster.
Other returnees are outfielders Caitlin Williams, Amanda French and Jasmine Callis along with infielders Stephanie Mauran, Jamie Poirer, Lauren Pelkey and Emily Cutting.
"The only returning starter on our infield is catcher Hayley Waldron," Simpson said. "Jamie Poirer saw a lot of playing time at second base, but now will be the starter. All others are returning players, but at different positions. Emily Cutting shared time at third base last season."
Chapuk will be a key to Moriah's fortunes. She joined the varsity late in the season and had some success on the mound. She enters 2011 as the Viking ace.
New to the club are outfielders Corinne Slycord, Symantha Wright, Whitney Salerno and Jen Chappell and infielders Sara Rancour, Courtney carson and Rachel Demarais.
"We are definitely looking to improve our record from last season," Simpson said.
Don Tesar is serving as assistant coach.