NEWPORT–The 2012 North Country softball team is a mixture of veterans and new faces with the numbers skewing towards the new faces.
"There are some vets, an awful lot of rookies, but it is early and we are looking to get some things together," said head coach Leslie Dunn.
Returning this year are seniors Hillary Manning, Samantha Collins, Brandi Thornton, Anna Ghelli, Emily Corkins and Kayla Desheneau as well as juniors Mariah Roberts and Anna Bingham.
Pitching is one area where the Falcons have some depth, and Dunn is excited to have reliable arms ready to go.
"We have a pitching staff this year, which I have never had before. Kayla is back and freshman Taylor Blake can throw, so I plan on using both of them."
Desheneau will get the bulk of the starts in the circle with Blake stepping in when needed.
Defense once again is the focus for North Country this season.
Said the coach, "We are not going to score a lot of runs, so it is our defense that is going to keep us in games."
Desheneau has a new catcher to throw to this year, as Madison Mosher takes over the duties from departed senior Melody Mehew.
Said Desheneau on the switch, "It is a little bit difficult because I had Mel for three years, so yeah, it will be a little tough."
As for the rest of the defense, it will be pretty much as it says on Dunn's roster, and she gave an honest assessment of the group she is putting out there.
"Even though we have a lot of veterans, there are a lot of rookies that are starting. So I think we are going to make some mistakes early on, but by mid to late season we should be doing really well."
Thornton and Paige Leonard are at third, Bingham at short, Ghelli and maybe Mikaela Morse at second and Corkins, Blake and sophomore Kelsea Cutting at first.
In the outfield Roberts is the field general in center with left and right to be fielded by Manning, Collins and possibly Cutting too.
Taking a look at the offense, Dunn lost a lot of her big bats from a season ago, so it will be old time ball for the Falcons when they are at the plate.
"We are going to use a lot of small ball. I lost my four, five and six hitters, but we have got a lot of speed, so when we get people on base we are going to have to move them around with, like I said, small ball," Dunn said.
Just because the team will be primarily a manufacture runs by any means necessary team doesn't mean there won't be any juice in the order.
Said Dunn, "The bigger hitters that should be able to get some singles and doubles will be Taylor, Kayla, Anna and Cutting."
Anna Bingham has the three spot locked down, and although she's not at 100%, is ready for the season.
"I could be better, my ankle still bothers me some, but I will be out there," said the junior.
Expect Desheneau to bat clean-up with Blake hitting fifth. As for the rest of the order, that will be a game time decision.
Dunn's main goal this season is to find a level of consistency and avoid the one big inning that plagued them in 2011.
"Last year we were better at it, but this year I just want to get rid of it and focus on our defense."
If they can eliminate the lapses and play that strong defensive game that Dunn is looking for, the team should make a good go of it in 2012.
The 0-1 Falcons are back at it tomorrow against Lyndon at 11:00 AM.