WEIRTON - Madonna's girls' basketball team was derailed by injuries late in the season and those same bumps and bruises could have a big effect on the softball team.
Starters from last season's team in Isabella Anile, Stephanie Magnone, Courtney Moss, and Melanie Mazur are licking their wounds to begin the season. Mazur tore her ACL and will miss the entire season.
"It's hard to say how good we are going to be," coach Chris Conti said. "We will have a bunch of freshmen playing that don't have any experience. We are anxious to get playing so we can see what we have out there."
Anile, Magnone, and Moss are practicing and Conti expects them to return in a few weeks.
In the meantime, the Blue Dons will try to get by with a younger group that includes four freshmen.
Aubrey Platek and Annie Magnone will play in the outfield, Montana Mascio will be at third base and Amanda Pulice will get some time pitching.
The starting pitching will fall mainly on senior Lettie Quattrochi.
Quattrochi will have big shoes to fill in trying to replace four-year starter and all-stater Rebecca Stewart.
"Lettie does a real good job and she is a real good pitcher," Conti said. "I have high expectations for her, (and) I am also very confident in what she can do. She has pitched a little bit but when you have someone like Rebecca Stewart, you obviously don't get to pitch that much.
"As for Amanda, she needs experience but I think she can turn into a real good high school pitcher."
Also needing to be replaced is Sam Myers, another all-stater behind catcher. Myers was a big-time hitter at the plate, as well as a stellar defender behind it.
"We have some good hitters but you don't replace a Sam Myers," Conti said.
Taking her spot behind the plate will be Sarah Alongi.
Magnone and Quattrochi are good hitters and first baseman Sara Lyons also brings a big bat to the plate.
Mazur's injury opens up a spot at second base that will go to Emily Pietranton.
Amanda Paul will get the start at shortstop.
Joining Platek and Annie Magnone in the outfield will be center fielder Emily Hvizdak.
"The girls are ready to get going and so are the coaches," Conti said. "We have a tough sectional and you have to give it all you got in order to get out of it.
"Early on it's going to be about just playing well and getting these girls experience and that can only help us at the end of the season. Getting these girls some confidence hitting the ball will go a long way."
MADONNA 2012 SOFTBALL SCHEDULE
Mar. 24: Bishop Donahue (2)noon
Mar. 26: Oak Glen5 p.m.
Mar. 28: East Liverpool5 p.m.
Mar. 30: Wheeling Central5 p.m.
Apr. 2: Cameron5 p.m.
Apr. 3: at Weir4:30 p.m.
Apr. 5: at Bridgeport5:30 p.m.
Apr. 9: Linsly6 p.m.
Apr. 10: Steub. Central5 p.m.
Apr. 11: at Shadyside6 p.m.
Apr. 13: at Cameron6 p.m.
Apr. 14: Weir3 p.m.
Apr. 17: at Toronto5:30 p.m.
Apr. 18: Bridgeport5 p.m.
Apr. 19: Toronto5 p.m.
Apr. 21: at Trinity (2)noon