BAKER - The East Hardy softball team returns returns an experienced group from last year's 22-11 squad for head coach Calvin Mongold.
The Lady Cougars will open up their 2013 season Monday at Martinsburg.
East Hardy, which lost in the sectional championship to Moorefield last year in three games, returns the following seniors, shorstop Morgan Mongold, right fielder Sarah Liller and first baseman Casey Showman.
"We're excited with these three seniors returning," Mongold said. "We're going to expect big things from those three."
East Hardy also returns six juniors. They include second basemen Rayann Foltz, who batted .402 last season, catcher Marilyn Cassell, who batted .362 last year, third basemen Autumn Mathias, designated hitter Ruby Fridley and center fielder Jade Foltz.
The Lady Cougars also return their top pitcher in junior Jodie Funkhouser, who went 18-11 last season as a sophomore.
"We're needing big things from Jodi this year," Mongold said. "She got us 18 wins last years, so we need big things from her again this year."
Sophomore center fielder Morgan Basye is coming off a broken leg last year and batted .477 before she got hurt with 31 RBIs.
East Hardy will have three freshmen into the mix this season and they are Joleah Hamilton, Cheyenne Herbrandt and Ally Dyer.
Hamilton is battling for time in the infield, while Herbrandt and Dyer will see time in the outfield for East Hardy.
East Hardy will have a tough non-conference schedule with seven AAA teams on its schedule. They include Martinsburg, Strasburg (Va.), Elkins, Musselman, Broadway (Va.), Luray (Va.), and Washington.
"The only way to get better is to play a tough non-conference schedule," Mongold said. "We'll see how things go to start off the season."