Sophomore-laden Medomak Valley looks to youth to stay strong
Waldoboro — The following is a synopsis of the 2014 Medomak Valley High School softball team:
Coach/years coached current team: Richard Vannah, fifth year.
Last year's record/playoff information: 10-6, No. 9 seed in Eastern Class B. The Panthers defeated No. 8 Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield in a preliminary playoff and were ousted by No. 1 Gardiner 8-4 in the quarterfinals.
Roster: Senior Lauren Guptill; juniors Hannah Marks and Hope Lash; and sophomores Sophie Cohen, Maggie Cox, Stephanie Hill, Miranda Belcher, McKenzie Wing, Megan Sykes, Vanessa Davis, Casey Wagner, Hannah Watmough and Paige Mason.
Known graduation losses: Desiree Benner, Amanda Hendrickson-Belloguet, Taylor Simmons, McKenzie Belcher, Maria Ennamorati, Abby Maguire, Bridget Miller, Danielle Hunt and Heidi Obuchon.
Significant impact players: Guptill, Marks, Watmough, Lash and Hill.
Team strengths: Speed, hitting, pitching and defense.
Team goal: To hang a [state championship] banner in the Medomak Valley High School gymnasium.
Top league opponents: Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle, Gardiner, Nokomis of Newport and Winslow.
Outlook: The Panthers lost several components of last year's senior-laden playoff team, including Benner, who has been the team's starting pitcher for the last three years, as well as Hendrickson-Belloguet, arguably the team's top all-around offensive player.
However, Medomak Valley has been a playoff team for years and there is little to suggest the Panthers will not be in the running for the postseason again in 2014. Marks, who, along with Guptill, is a team co-captain, will handle pitching duties, while Guptill, Marks and Watmough will also supply power at the plate.
“I am looking for a young, talented group to build on every game, win or lose, take a positive from the game and apply it to the next game,” said Vannah. “My goal as a coach is to get into the playoffs and see what happens. Maybe we can surprise some teams, work our way through. I am excited to coach this group and watch them grow.”