PINE GROVE - Just about everything, including the coaching staff, is new this season for the Valley softball team. Adam Lemon takes over as the new head coach and is joined by first-year assistant Keith Riggle.
Coming off a 5-16 season that ended with sectional losses against Cameron and Paden City, the Lumberjills are setting higher goals under the new leadership.
''The general expectations that both coaches agree on is playing .500 ball while holding the girls accountable on the field,'' Lemon said. A lot will be expected out of freshman Bre Harris as she will be carrying the load for pitching on the team.''
Valley graduated five seniors - Jessica Loy, Holli Schell, Katy Midcap, Dani Hayes and Brooke Staley - but Lemon said ''This team is led by a fantastic senior group that is setting the tone for the program.''
That senior group includes shortstop Megan Bucher, newcomer Merand Rose, who plays outfield, and third baseman-outfielder Jessica Ashcraft. Junior Alyssa Sharpe returns at first base, while classmates Angela Sharep and Arizona Cunningham look to lock down positions in the outfield.
The final returning player, sophomore Megan Martin, will again be donning catcher's gear. When she's not behind the plate, Martin can also be used as an outfielder.
''Megan Bucher, Jessica Ashcraft and Meranda Roe have been great leaders for this team that the upperclassmen look up to,'' Lemon said. ''Alyssa Sharpe, Angela Sharpe and Megan Martin will be expected to contribute more to the team this year, with almost half the team being first-year players.''
In addition to Harris and Roe, other newcomers are sophomores Magan Cain (OF), Sarah Bassett (OF) and Tiffany Hendershot (2b-OF). They're joined by junior Haley Flurharty who can play either catcher or second base.