TROY — Normally, when you are coming off a record season, you are in a rebuilding mode the next season.
But, that’s not the case for Troy softball coach Scott Beeler.
The Trojans are coming off a school record 22-5 season and have nearly every player back from a year ago.
But, Beeler is not taking anything for granted.
“You would think that (that they would be ahead of last year at the start of the season),” he said. “But, ever year is different.”
The Trojans return both pitchers.
Junior Abigail Welbaum was 15-3 last year with a 3.938 ERA, while senior Lilly James was 7-2 with a 5.578 ERA.
They combined for 193 strikeouts last spring.
“They are both really good pitchers, but they are different pitchers,” Beeler said. “I like that the other team isn’t seeing the same pitcher all the time.”
Senior Allyson Burns returns behind the plate and will be backed up by senior Brianna Cardinal and freshman Olivia Setser.
Burns batted .535 a year ago with five doubles, three triples a home run and 22 RBIs. She also stole 24 bases.
“Allyson hits well and has good speed,” Beeler said. “And she has a strong arm and does a good job managing the game back there.”
Welbaum and James will also rotate at first base.
Welbaum batted .318 last year with six doubles, three home runs and 24 RBIs.
James batted .359 with three doubles, one triple, one home run and 22 RBIs.
Seniors Ashley Kloeker and Lauren Monner manned the middle of the infield a year ago and the depth has increased this year with junior Emma Setser and sophomore Abby Seger.
Fonner batted .438 a year ago with 12 doubles, one triple, three homers and 38 RBIs.
Kloeker batted .431 with two doubles, two triples, two home runs and 17 RBIs.
“We are going to use a number of people in the middle infield,” Beeler said. “All four of very capable of playing. We want to get the younger girls varsity playing time, while still making sure the seniors get their playing time.”
Junior Elise McCann will again man third base.
McCann batted .415 last year with four doubles, three triples and 18 RBIs. Olivia Setser will back her up as well.
“We are expecting big things from Elise (McCann),” Beeler said. “She is a natural righthander, who bats lefthanded. So, she adds that dynamic to our lineup.”
Senior Briana Lavender will be back in centerfield.
She batted .479 a year ago, with four doubles, seven triples and two home runs. She had 27 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. Lavender has smashed the school record for career triples.
“She has great speed,” Beeler said. “She is a lockdown centerfielder. Anything she can get a glove on, she is going to catch.”
Junior Hallie Frigge returns in left field and senior Erin Bruce returns in right field.
Rounding out the roster is senior Lilly Wick.
Bruce hit .471 a year ago with seven doubles, a home run and 17 RBIs.
“Hallie (Frigge) share time with Caroline Turnbull in left field last year,” Beeler said. “She has worked hard in the off-season. Erin Bruce was solid for us a year ago in right field.”
As always, Greenville is the favorite in the MVL.
“They are the team,” Beeler said. “Last time we beat them was in 2016. But, you can’t forget about Tippecanoe or Vandalia-Butler. You have to be ready to play when you play them. I expect a lot of good things from this team.”
With the eyes on another record-breaking season.