Like most Adirondack high school ball teams, the wintry spring weather has been a real hardship for Coach Bruce McGinn and his Minerva-Newcomb varsity softball team.
“Our biggest weakness right now is our inability to be out in the field to have these new girls be up to speed on what happens at the varsity level,” McGinn said. “It’s hard to do the game-situation stuff inside.”
McGinn — who is the highway superintendent for the town of Minerva — returns as the Lady Mountaineers coach and hopes the team comes close to last year’s record of 12-3.
“We’ll be fairly strong,” McGinn said. “We lost four big-time seniors, but we have a nice crew coming back … I expect to be right in the hunt.”
The team saw the following seniors graduate in 2012: Amanda Bellotti, Renna Yandon, Tara Galusha and Marlena Peter.
This year, the Lady Mountaineers look strong on pitching, hitting and speed. Juniors Gabrielle McNally and Dakota Bennett return for their third year as starters. Sophomore Makenzie Winslow will also be a standout, as will sophomore Mary LaBar and seniors Ashley Miller and Shelby Hogan.
Hogan is the team’s main pitcher and will be backed up by freshmen Cheyenne Williams and Danielle McNally.
The international students have no softball experience, but there’s an upside.
“They’re much better at softball than they were in basketball,” McGinn said.
Although this is her first year, Williams could very well be the team’s best hitter.
“But it’s hard to be the best hitter on this team,” McGinn said. “There are a lot of decent ball players on this team.”
Here is the roster for the 2013 Lady Mountaineers: Dakota Bennett (shortstop), Makenzie Winslow (3B), Shelby Hogan (P/1B), Cheyenne Williams (1B/P), Gabrielle McNally (LF), Mary LaBar (2B), Ashley Miller (CF), sophomore Angela McCall (C/RF) and Danielle McNally (RF/C/P).
Rounding out the team are sophomores Sydney Barber, Riyo Onishi and Rachel Bush; juniors Caitlyn Yandon and Rebecca Marra; and senior Natasha Cartnonis.
The Lady Mountaineers expected to open their season Wednesday, April 17 at home against the Johnsburg Lady Jaguars and were scheduled to play in Elizabethtown on Friday, April 19 and at home against Chazy on Saturday, April 20. McGinn expects to have tough competition this year from the Indian Lake-Long Lake team.