LAKE GEORGE - The combination of an area All-Star pitcher backed up by an experienced squad is expected to thrust the Lake George softball team back to the top of the league again this year.
In 2009, the team won the Adirondack League Championship while tallying a 19-2 record overall and 13-1 in the league. That stellar squad was carried by lead pitcher Junior Katelyn Callahan - the 2008 Adriondack League MVP - aided by strong defense and solid offense.
Katelyn bewilders batters with her blistering speed and her ability to work the corners of the plate. Holding high standards for herself, Katelyn is disappointed if she doesn't throw a no-hitter.
Katelyn's back for 2009, and she may be even better than ever. She's been practicing and playing tirelessly during the off-season, coach Kelly Collins said.
With Katelyn's turbocharged pitches, it takes an experienced catcher behind the plate for successful defense.
Although the team lost 2008 catcher Mackenzie Fraser to graduation, two catchers show promise for 2009, Collins said.
Veteran Shelby Jenkins, a lead-off batter, can handle Katelyn's heat - she worked with her for the whole off-season - but she may be best utilized at shortstop, the coach said. That's why the coaching staff is training sophomore Nicole Bureau to work behind the plate.
"We're working to get Nicole ready," Collins said. "We need Shelby in the infield."
Leadership is likely to be provided by not only the team's three seniors, but a long roster of juniors that include Sara Anderson and Taylor Dawson who have been playing varsity since eighth grade.
Offensively, the team needs players to step forward and fill the shoes of 2008's top hitters: graduates Brittany Cracco, Mackenzie Fraser, and Juliette Gautier-Jabaut.
"We're trying to determine what order will work for us," Collins said. "Initially, we'll be relying on strong pitching while we find our batting power."