Talented islanders ready to make postseason noise
Vinalhaven — The following is a synopsis of the 2014 Vinalhaven High School softball team:
Coach/years coached current team: Doug Littlefield, third year.
Last year's record/playoff information: 4-8, sixth in Western Class D. The Vikings did not qualify for the playoffs.
Roster: Seniors Ashley Hamilton (shortstop) and Bethany Candage (second base); juniors Ashley Davis-Oakes (pitcher), Taylor Littlefield (first base), Tracie Webster (catcher, right field), Haley Bryant (outfield), and Danielle Newton (outfield); sophomores Maddie Hallowell (center field) and Sarah James (second base); freshmen Bailey Wadleigh (third base) and Hannah Ames (catcher); and eighth-graders Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes (pitcher, catcher, shortstop, outfield), Paige Dennison (shortstop, outfield), Déja Doughty (utility), Ashlynn Littlefield (second base, outfield), Cheyenne Bickford (second base, outfield) and Emma Van Dyne (utility).
Both Vinalhaven and North Haven Community School student-athletes can play on the team.
Known graduation losses: None.
Significant impact players: Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes, Littlefield, Hamilton and Ashley Davis-Oakes.
Team strength: Offense.
Team goal: To qualify for the Western Class D playoffs.
Top league opponent: Greenville.
Outlook: The Vikings fell less than one percentage point shy of a postseason berth last season, but it looks as if the islanders will not have to split hairs when it comes to nabbing a playoff spot in 2014.
“We're going to be a team to be reckoned with,” said Littlefield. “We've all got experience, even the eighth-graders have three or four years of Little League [under their belts]. I think we're really going to go far this year.”
One of those eighth-graders is Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes, who drew praise from Littlefield. He said the youngster can clear the fence and hit for both power and average, in addition to playing a multitude of positions on the diamond.
"She's going to be an outstanding softball player,” said Littlefield of Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes. “She goes to camps and she's really into it. She's a go-getter and she loves softball.”
Returning to the team this year is Candage, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) prior to last season and did not take the field for the Vikings.
Add in the fact the islanders lost no players to graduation, along with the team scheduled for a full 14 games this season, and the recipe for a berth in the postseason appears more than likely.
“I think we're going to be real tough this year,” said the coach.