McMECHEN-While eight starters return from Bishop Donahue's 4-15 softball team, Coach Curt Mele stressed that he's not setting any lofty goals for his players this season.
''We don't have a senior on the team," Mele said. ''So we are still young although our juniors are all pretty much entering their third year as starters. I definitely think we can do a lot better but the schedule is a drawback. I've been saying for years that Region One in Class A is the toughest in the state. Being competitive against the (Wheeling) Centrals, Madonnas and Camerons will be a big challenge for our girls.''
Donahue graduated two players last spring, catcher and top offensive threat Taylore Barry along with outfielder Kerstee Kleeh. Despite the Bishops' struggles getting into the win column, the four-year starter Barry had an outstanding final season, earning all-state and All-Valley laurels after slugging her way to a .420 average with four triples, four home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Keeping junior pitcher Andrea Guzek in the circle every day would be a huge help if the Bishops are going to enjoy some success in 2012. Hampered because of health issues a year ago, Guzek compiled a 3-9 record.
Other juniors on the roster are Katie Scott, Selena Ghaphery, Morgan Carroll, Megan Rush, Beth Wolfe and Ali Bauer.
They are joined by sophomores Abby Randolph and Marley Keller and freshmen Tess Fallova, Julie Kidd and Taylor Koontz.
Taking over for Barry behind the dish is junior Katie Scott, who was the second baseman in 2011. The starting infield will have Carroll returning to first base, Megan Rush at second base, Ghaphery the shortstop and Wolfe at third base.
Wolfe also could spell Guzek in the circle if she needs a break. When that happens, Carroll would move from first to third with Keller filling in at first base.
The outfield starters are expected to be Fallova in left, Bauer in center with Keller and Randolph sharing time in right field. Kidd and Koontz also could see some outfield duty.
Joe Giovengo will be Mele's assistant coach.
BISHOP DONAHUE 2012 SOFTBALL SCHEDULE
Mar. 19: Cameron 5 p.m.
Mar. 20: Paden City 5:30 p.m.
Mar. 21: at Wheeling Central 5 p.m.
Mar. 23: at Linsly 5 p.m.
Mar. 24: at Weirton Madonna (2) noon
Mar. 26: at Paden City 5 p.m.
Mar. 27: at Cameron 5 p.m.
Mar. 28: Clay-Battelle (2) 5 p.m.
Mar. 29: Wheeling Central 5 p.m.
Mar. 31: at Weir (2) noon
Apr. 2: Bridgeport 5 p.m.
Apr. 3: Toronto 5 p.m.
Apr. 4: at Steub, Catholic 5 p.m.
Apr. 5: St. John Central (2) noon
Apr. 10: at Toronto 5 p.m.
Apr. 11: Beallsville 5 p.m.
Apr. 13: Shadyside 5 p.m.
Apr. 14: Valley (2) noon
Apr. 16: Steub. Catholic 5 p.m.
Apr. 17: Linsly 5 p.m.
Apr. 19: at Bridgeport 5 p.m.
Apr. 20: at Shadyside 5 p.m.
Apr. 21: at Beallsville 1:30 p.m.
Apr. 23: at Oak Glen 5 p.m.
Apr. 26: Trinity 5:30 p.m.