BRATTLEBORO -- It’s fair to say that Hannah Wilson has a tough act to follow.
The Brattleboro Union High School softball team’s sophomore pitcher is replacing Kayla Wood, who went 13-1 in the circle during the postseason and helped the Colonels win three state titles.
"She will be our starting pitcher," said BUHS coach Kelly Markol of Wilson. "She is young and doesn’t have a lot of experience. She will not overpower hitters, but has been working really hard on locating pitches. I believe that confidence will come with time and exposure on the mound."
The defending state champs will open up with a home game versus Otter Valley on Thursday at 5 p.m.
Wilson will be working with veteran catcher Mckinlie Carpenter, who is one of three returning starters for the purple and white. The others are shortstop Maddy Derosia and center fielder Daisy Giroux.
"All three of them are going to have to take leadership roles," noted Markol. "Mack does a nice job behind the plate: she has a strong arm and blocks the ball well. Daisy is a veteran center fielder who is quick and sees the ball off the bat well. She does a nice job covering ground and has a strong arm to go with it. Maddy is a good fielding shortstop -- very smooth with a nice arm. We need Maddy to step up in the infield due to the inexperince we will be facing."
Last season, the Colonels went 17-2-1 and used their motivational chants during every inning of every game. Wood was named the Vermont Softball Player of the Year. And fans likely remember Derosia scoring from third on a wild pitch to give BUHS a 1-0 victory over Missisquoi in the title tilt in Poultney -- a game Wood had earlier promised assistant coach Jeff Rawson that the team would get to.
But seven members of that state championship team were lost, including Wood, Haley Struthers, Rissa Smith, Lou Terwilliger, Alyssa Bezanson, Bailey Paige and Jess Mann. Giroux, Derosia, Carpenter, senior Alex Derosia and junior Casey Manning are the lone returnees.
"We still have a lot of question marks on starting postions. We are still trying to figure that out. We are very young and inexperienced. There are only three kids on the team that have had quality time on the field at the varsity level," said the Brattleboro coach. "There is no doubt that we have a lot of work to do and it’s definitely going to take some time. We are going to make mistakes and our goal is to learn from them and minimize them."
Derosia had a .314 average and a team-high 12 RBIs in 2013. Carpenter drove in nine runs, and Giroux was known for robbing opponents of extra-base hits.
"We are going to have to hit better this year and I expect that Mack, Daisy and Maddy will be a big part of that. As a team, we are going to have to make solid contact and score some runs," stated Markol. "We are young, but these kids are great kids and have been working really hard to understand the game."
Sophomore Jess Ogden will be backing up Wilson in the circle and can also play first base. Talented freshman Devin Millerick is expected to see lots of playing time at various positions. Juniors Samantha Harrison and Siera Butler will be moved around defensively.
"Alex Derosia played some outfield last year. Alex is versatile, and will see playing time both in the infield and outfield," said the veteran coach. "Casey Manning also played outfield. Casey will also see time in the infield and outfield."
Brattleboro softball roster: Coach -- Kelly Markol. Players -- Mckinlie Carpenter, Maddy Derosia, Daisy Giroux, Alex Derosia, Casey Manning, Samantha Harrison, Siera Butler, Hannah Wilson, Jessica Ogden, Devin Millerick.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.