Aspirations remain high for new look Oceanside
Thomaston — The following is a synopsis of the 2014 Oceanside High School softball team:
Coach/years coached current team: Rusty Worcester, third year (14th total after spending first 11 seasons with Georges Valley).
Last year's record/playoff information: 15-1, third in Eastern Class B. The Mariners defeated No. 6 Washington Academy of East Machias 1-0 in the quarterfinals, defeated No. 2 Old Town 5-2 in the semifinals, bested No. 1 Gardiner 11-4 in the Eastern Class B championship game and defeated Western Class B champion Greely of Cumberland 8-1 to win the state Class B championship.
The Mariners also won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship with a 4-0 win over Gardiner.
Roster: Seniors Trittany Penn (first base, outfield), Brooke Dugan (third base), Maggie Drinkwater (second base) and Haley Richardson (pitcher); juniors Paige Tyler (pitcher), Caitlin Raye (shortstop, outfield), Rachel Robinson (utility) and Alexis Davis (outfield, pitcher); sophomores Brianna Dugan (outfield, first base), Krisandra McNichol (utility), Ari Curtis (catcher) and Kalyn Grover (outfield); and freshmen Alexis Mazurek (shortstop) and Madelyn Young (utility, designated hitter).
Known graduation losses: Rachel Frye, Kennadi Grover, Hannah Plourde, Molly Mellor, Emma Davis and Zoey Proctor.
Significant impact players: Brooke and Brianna Dugan, Tyler, Curtis, Davis, Grover, Mazurek and Young. The Dugans are sisters.
Team strengths: Offense, defense and pitching.
Team goal: To defend its state Class B title.
Top league opponents: Gardiner, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle and Erskine Academy of South China.
Outlook: The Mariners had a dream season in 2013 that ended with the team holding the first state championship trophy in the brief history of Oceanside High School. However, the Mariners lost several key components of last year's squad, including KVAC Class B player of the year Rachel Frye and Kennadi Grover, Courier Publications schoolgirl athlete of the year.
However, as Worcester's past teams have shown, they do not rebuild. They reload. And the Mariners have plenty of players who are capable of shouldering the load.
Losing Frye, arguably the most dominant and consistent pitcher in the KVAC over the past two seasons, is a tough pill to swallow. But Tyler has shown she is ready to take her spot in the center of the diamond for Oceanside.
“We have some very good talent on this team [and] they will continue to improve and build their confidence,” said Worcester. “We want to defend our [state] title from last year, [but] this will be a very difficult process there are some great teams out there and the bull's-eye is on our backs. We will shoot for the title and leave everything on the field and if we fall short we will go after it again next year.”