The Cavaliers return seven players from the team which finished third in the 2016 NJCAA National Tourney.
"With seven returning players and a great group of freshmen, they should again lead us to another banner year," said Head Coach Dennis Clark. "I always expect big things from my sophomores. I feel they will lead us, along with talented freshmen, toward our 22nd NJCAA Region IV Championship and an opportunity to return to Clinton, Miss."
The Cavs' top two pitchers from last year are returning.
Leading the way is First Team All-Region and NJCAA All-Tournament selection Baylie Ullmark. she finished her freshman campaign with 28 wins 3 losses, and a 2.39 ERA. "Baylie had a great year last year," Coach Clark said. "She is the No. 1 pitcher in our region. That experience bodes well for the 2017 season." Also returning is Michaela Ward, who was 11-4 last year. "Michaela has the potential to win 20 games this year," Clark said. "I expect her to have a great year."
Also returning is their battery mate, Colleen McLaughlin, who hit .331 and caught all the big games. "It is great having your pitchers and catcher back for another year, their experience working together is priceless," said Clark.
The top two hitters returning are National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American Beth Mersinger, who hit .436 last year with 77 RBI. Mersinger will play first base after being the designated player last year. Also returning is Kalyn Learnard who hit .436 with 46 RBI. Kalyn will move from left field to second base this season. "Beth and Kalyn will hit in the middle of the line-up this year," said Coach Clark. "We need them to drive in runs."
The Cavs have two returning outfielders in Kiley Zajdzinski and Jessica Zematis. Zajdzinski hit .308 last year and Zematis hit .291. Both are good defensive outfielders who are very athletic and have strong arms. "Kiley and Jess cover a lot of ground in the outfield, have great speed and will hit in the top of the line-up for us this year," said Clark..
"This year's team will have solid pitching and good defense, (plus) a lot of players who can play multiple positions," said Clark.