Petersburg's softball team has been enjoying a steady rise over the last decade.
Last season's 18-10 mark was another step forward in this progression, with only a comeback 8-6 loss to Keyser in the regional tourney keeping the Vikings from last season's state tournament.
"We have several of our key players back from last season's team, and our expectations are high for this spring," seventh-year head coach Dwayne Hedrick said. "It will be a matter of our pitching developing and being a good fundamental squad execution wise.
Photo courtesy of Tom Hencke
Petersburg’s Sammy Jo Watts, left, and Dominique Adkins prepare for the upcoming season at Petersburg High School Gymnasium.
"Offensively, we feel like we have an offense that is going to score a lot of runs."
Pitching will be a key to the season. With the loss of four-year ace Whitney Lough to graduation, Hedrick is looking to a group of young arms to fill the position.
At this point, Hedrick is looking for some innings from sophomores Molly Thompson and Nakita Kimble, freshman Katelyn Keplinger and senior Stephanie Van Meter.
Offensively, several key position players return to what was a strong lineup in 2011.
This group includes outfielders Dominique Adkins and Tori Weasonforth, and infielders Samantha Watts at third base and Melissa Sharp at shortstop.
Brooke Haught saw a considerable amount of action last year both in the outfield as well as some infield spots.
"Sharp is the key to what we are doing defensively and with our offense," Hedrick said. "She is a four-year starter and a tremendous leader."
Petersburg opens regular season play on March 16 with a doubleheader against Class AAA foe Washington.
"We have a young team, but it is a team that has some talent and potential," Hedrick said. "If we develop like I think we are capable of, this team can accomplish a lot."