Area high school softball preview capsules for the 2021 season, as reported to the Caledonian-Record sports department.
ST. JOHNSBURY HILLTOPPERS
Coach: Jeremy Roberts (fifth season); assistants Aaron Carr (17th), Crystal Meunier (12th)
2019 Record: 9-7
Graduation Losses: Mya Rutledge, Emma Kinnerson, Delany Payeur, Kiana Keene, Morgan Belknap
Returnees: Delaney Rankin, Jr., P; Taylor Farnsworth, Jr., C/SS; Lexi Duranleau, Sr., P/1B; Kyara Rutledge, Jr., 3B.
Newcomers: Kaia Anderson, Fr., SS/C; Brooke Choiniere, Fr., OF; Hailey Emmons, Sr., OF; Emily Demers, Sr., OF; Jasmine Mooney, Jr., OF; Adriana Lemieux, Jr., 2B/C; Caitlin Haggett, Sr., P/OF; Lilian Kittredge, Soph., 1B/P.
Players To Watch: “Delaney Rankin and Taylor Farnsworth will anchor a very solid, exciting young defense,” coach Roberts said. “Look for a strong offensive year from Lexi Duranleau.”
Coach: Chris Carr (seventh season); assistants Randy Boulay (seventh), Kevin Ruggles (seventh)
Last Year’s Record: Did not play due to COVID.
Graduation Losses: Jenna Malone, Kasey Barton, Haleigh Gould, Lindsay Joyal, Victoria Valentine, Teagen Wheeler, Sydney Smith, Shelby Ruggles, Courteney Simpson.
Returnees: Kelleigh Simpson, Sr., P/OF.
Newcomers: Emily Tanner, Sr., OF; Delaney Noyes, Sr., IF/OF; Jamie Fenoff, Jr., OF; Kadienne Whitcomb, Jr., IF; Isabelle Priest, Jr., IF/OF; Imogyn Cote, Jr. IF; Natalie Tenney, Jr., IF; Brydie Barton, Jr., IF/OF; Emma Newland, Jr., IF/OF; Molly Smith, Fr., IF/OF; Jaydin Royer, Fr., P/OF; Molly Renaudette, Fr., IF.
Players To Watch: Kelleigh Simpson and Jaydin Royer in the circle/strong hitters; Brydie Barton, strong hitter.
Season Outlook: “First, we are all glad to be back on the field playing a game that was taking away from us last year,” coach Carr said. “We have a few new kids on the team this year and with a later starting date we will have to come together as a team quickly. These girls are ready to play and if everything comes together, we should be a fun group to watch. Being back in D-II this year, the team goal is to have a deep run into the playoffs.”
LAKE REGION RANGERS
Coach: Rick Hudson (second season)
2019 Record: 4-11, lost in first round to Springfield
Graduation Losses: Lost nine players to graduation in the last two years.
Returnees: Caylin Wesoja, Sr., 3B; Anzley Crafts Sr.,OF; Taylor Menard, Jr., C; Alexis Sicard, Jr., SS.
Newcomers: Makenzie Smith, Jr., 1B/2B/P; Kaitlyn Brown, Soph., 1B/2B; Tyra Scelza, Fr., OF/C; Makayla Richardson, Fr., P; Maya Auger, Fr., OF; Mariah Bacon, Soph., 1B/3B; Tessa Patrick, Fr., IF/OF; Myah Ingalls, Fr., IF/OF; Jessica Johnson Soph., 1B/3B.
Players To Watch: Mariah Bacon: Good arm, a lot of power at-bat. Anzley Crafts: Good bat, great outfielder. Tyra Scelza: Great hitter with speed, can play anywhere. Makayla Richardson: Good lefty pitcher.
Season Outlook: “We are very young but excited about the freshman and sophomores we have,” coach Hudson says. “It’s nice to have 19 in our program this year and be able to play a JV schedule as well. With our improved pitching and some new power and speed in the lineup, we could surprise some teams.”
2019 Record: 11-4
Graduation Losses: Jasmine Esposito, Lilly Therrien, Sarah Gray, Savannah Stevenson, Bryanna Goslant, Katelyn Brown
Returnees: Carlie Beliveau, Sr., 2B; Paige Hale, Sr., CF; Rylie Cadieux, Jr., 3B; Zoe Crocker, Jr., SS; Colleen Flinn, Jr., 1B/P; Ava Marshia, Jr., C; Liza Morse, Jr., RF; Sophia Palmer, Jr., LF; Avery Withers, Jr., LF; Allie Beliveau, Jr., LF.
Newcomers: Kai Li Huang, Soph., LF; Zoe Corey, Jr., RF; Cassidy Kittredge, 8th, P/1B
Players To Watch: “We have strength at all positions. Hard to pick any player that stands out. We need to bond as a team,” Remick said.
Season Outlook: “It’s good, as long as the pitching holds up.”
BLUE MOUNTAIN BUCKS
Coach: KJ Beck & Carrie Peters (third seasons)
2019 Record: 9-8, lost in championship game against West Rutland
Graduation Losses: Lauryn Alley, Alivia Crum, Morgan Beck, Antonia Munson
Returnees: Jessica Holmes Sr., OF; Maggie Emerson, Jr., P; Mackenzie Carle, Jr., OF
Players To Watch: “Unknown at this point. We have not been able to practice yet due to COVID; many players with great potential,” the coaches stated.
Season Outlook: “Our team is very young, only one returning starter from 2019,” coach Peters said. “We want to continue to grow and get stronger throughout the season, finishing the year .500.”
Coach: Arthur Boutin (10th season)
2019 Record: 15-5
Graduation Losses: Logan Lopus, Sara Grant, Chloe Houston, Siobhan Smith, Meaghan Royston, Desiray Murphy
Returnees: Peyton Clark, Sr., IF; Moriah Jellison, Sr. IF; Rachel Strout, Sr., P; Kiley Hill, Jr., OF; Sara Brown, Jr., OF; Kendal Clark, Jr., IF; Kora Sibley, Jr., C; Victoria Jellison, Soph., OF; Katie Clark, Soph., IF; Taylor Clark, Soph., OF.
Newcomers: Aiden Jesseman, Sr., OF; Alexis Meyerhoffer, Fr., IF; Haley Cavanaugh, Fr., IF; Julie Aldrich Gauthier, Fr., OF; Mya Drew, Fr., OF.
Season Outlook: “We are a young team and the ladies have worked hard to get ready for the season,” coach Boutin said. “I look forward to the start of the season to see where they are and to improve with each game so we will be playing our best when the tournament begins.”
Coach: John Rooney (fifth season); assistant Lauren Tyler
Graduation Losses: Kaitlyn Desilets, Lauren Tyler, Dakota Woodworth, Kelsea Brausseur, Collen Murray, Dayna Randall.
Returnees: Ava Macnevins, Sr.; Amanda Newman, Sr.; Noe Jones, Sr.; Katie Woodworth, Sr.; Reese Routhier, Jr.; Micki Grootenboer, Soph.; Catherine Bushey, Soph.; Martha Hodge, Soph.; Kylie Lachance, Soph.
Newcomers: Emmalee Deblois, Sr.; Delaney Whiting, 7th; Amaya Kendall 8th.
Players To Watch: “Emmalee Deblois showed a lot of improvement in preseason at the plate and the field,” coach Rooney said. “Micki Grootenboer needs to stay consistent on the mound; Catherine Bushey hit well in preseason.”
Season Outlook: “Hoping to improve each game and get better towards the end of the season,” he remarked. “Losing pretty much the starting infield, we will have our struggles for sure. The girls have been working hard in practice. The hitting was pretty consistent in the preseason.”
Coach: Serena Quillin (sixth season); assistant Mikala Bastian (fourth)
Last Year’s Record: No 2020 season.
Graduation Losses: Faith Santos, Jillian Allaire, Jenna Doucette, Jackie Maker
Returnees: Hannah Brown, Sr., SS; Emily Tholl, Sr., CF; Jaiden Ridlon, Sr., C/3B; Maddie Carbonneau, Jr., OF; Jamielee Lamarre, Sr., OF; Josie Bryant, Jr., OF.
Newcomers: Kylie Lord, Soph.; Hailee Briane, Soph.; Taylor Marsh, Soph; Alba Perez, Soph.; Taytum Adams, Fr.; Kierra Charest, Fr.; Marlyn Valentin, Fr.
Players To Watch: “Our seniors and juniors have really put in the work over the last year and will be taking on new positions,” coach Quillin says. “After a cancelled season the upperclassmen have a strong push to step up into the leadership roles of last year’s graduation losses.”
Season Outlook: “Coming into a season with a lot of new faces, there will be a bit of movement and position changes,” she added. “Looking forward to see what this season will bring.”
Coach: Dana Huntington (10th season)
2019 Record: 14-5
Graduation Losses: McKenzie Dennis, Sarah Britton, Emma Restelli
Returnees: Keatyn Horne, Sr., OF; Maachah Krull, Sr., IF-OF; Emily Prest, Sr., 3B; Morgan Wagstaff, Sr. 1B; Emily Farr, Jr., C/OF; Mackenzie Kingsbury, Jr., P/SS; Leah Krull, Jr., IF/OF; Anna McIntyre, Jr., IF/OF; Maddie Roy, Jr., OF.
Newcomers: Graci Kaiser, Sr., OF; Mackenzie Griswold, Fr., P/IF/OF; Jessica Riley, Jr., IF/OF; Anna Roy, Jr., IF/OF; Dory Roy, Fr., C/IF.
Players To Watch: “The seniors have the experience that should help the team during close games, and the juniors also have some experience,” coach Huntington says. “The upperclassmen are kids that work hard and support teammates very well.”
Season Outlook: “Missing an entire season has left a number of questions throughout the lineup. I think this is a quality group of players and they are looking forward to the season getting started,” Huntington assessed. “The goal is to get to Plymouth, and the girls are working hard to get there. I’m looking forward to seeing the talented newcomers blend in with the skilled, experienced returnees to create a quality softball team.”