Coach: Chad DeGrenier, second year
Last year: 6-13
Key returnees: Jenna Moulton, senior; Molly Moulton, senior; Ingrid Olson, senior; Maya Howland, junior.
Outlook: Drury coach Chad DeGrenier said he has a battle-tested team that should benefit from close games against tournament teams Mount Greylock and Wahconah last season.
With five returning seniors, the Blue Devils have the experience necessary to pull out the close games needed to qualify for the tournament. Junior Maya Howland returns as the main pitcher in the circle. Entering her second year as the No. 1, she has a better idea of how the to attack hitters. Jenna Moulton moves to shortstop and Allie Brassard moves from short to second base, providing strong defense up the middle. Ingrid Olson returns at catcher and Molly Moulton brings athleticism to center field.
The Blue Devils will need to start quickly with a tough early schedule featuring: Lee, Wahconah, Vermont Division I champion Mount Anthony and Western Mass. Division II semifinalist Frontier.
Coach: June Blake, sixth year
Last year: 11-11, Western Massachusetts D-III quarterfinals loss to Turners Falls
Key returnees: Sam Betti, senior; Elena Ceiveira, sophomore; Olivia DiNicola, junior; Fiona Kelly, junior.
Outlook: Last season, Mount Greylock's young players gained the valuable experience of a postseason berth and a matchup with powerhouse Turners Falls. The Mounties held their own with the Indians before losing 5-1, but the experience gave this year's squad added confidence in their ability. Fiona Kelly returns as the top pitcher. Blake said Kelly worked hard in the offseason to get stronger and she's displaying better control and command of her pitches.
An improved Kelly should benefit from Greylock's strong offense. Rachel Voller, Olivia DiNicola and Elena Cerveira supply plenty of pop in the middle of the lineup. Kelly is capable of helping her cause at the plate as well.
Juniors Grace Dodig and Carly Munzer will move into roles and second base and third base, respectively. Freshman Marley Buffis will see playing time in the outfield as well.
Coach: Greg Marchbanks, sixth season
Last year: 19-3, Western Massachusetts D-I finals loss to Agawam
Key returnees: Allie Hunt, senior; Emily Koldys, senior; Erin Murphy, junior; Hayley Tobin, sophomore.
Outlook: Pittsfield lost a one-run game in the Western Mass. Division I title, and despite losing former No. 1 pitcher Julia Murphy to prep school, the Generals return a talented roster. All-Eagle MVP Allie Hunt returns at shortstop, bringing one of the most feared bats in Western Mass to the heart of the lineup. Catcher Hayley Tobin was very productive as a freshman batting behind Hunt, she also displays strong defensive skills.
In the circle, the Generals will look to Emily Koldys and Guilianna Pierce to split time as pitchers. Koldys started last season at pitcher, before an injury forced her to the outfield. The senior will play in the outfield and first base as well. Erin Murphy, Bella Aitken and Toni Satrape will all see time in the infield. Senior Alex Desrochers returns in an outfield spot, and freshman Abby Santos will also fill a spot in the outfield.
Coach: Kevin Harrington, sixth season
Last year: 5-15
Key returnees: Ashley Keegan, junior; Kailey Bell, junior; Janee Walker, junior; Chloe Wood, junior.
Outlook: Strong pitching will keep a team in every game. Taconic did not have a lot of success last season, but as its 2-1 victory over North Division champion Pittsfield will show, when your ace is rolling — upsets are possible. Junior Ashley Keegan is one of the top pitchers in the county and her hard-throwing approach allows her to rack up strikeouts. With another spring and summer of improvement under her belt, Keegan can continue to dominant. Catcher Kailey Bell returns to receive Keegan and she has great chemistry with her battery mate. Junior Janee Walker returns at third base, after learning the position last season. Juniors Rebecca Herbert and Chloe Wood will patrol the outfield. Olivia Bordeau will fill in multiple roles, and Aubrey Lazits takes over full time at second base, after spending the second half of her freshman season at the position.
The Braves are a junior-heavy team with one senior on the roster. While the future looks promising, many of the 2017 class members return with valuable varsity playing time.
Coach: Dustin Belcher, eighth year
Last year: 18-4, Western Massachusetts D-II final loss to Hampshire.
Key returnees: Chloe Warren senior, Juli McBain, senior; Allie Borowsky, junior; Jess Warren, sophomore.
Outlook: Wahconah returns a strong group of talent, to a team that just missed winning the Division II title. Pitching and defense carried the Warriors to a 17-3 regular season and those principles remain the strength of the team. Seniors Chloe Warren (shortshop) and Juli McBain (center field) are solid fielders up the middle. Sophomore Jess Warren showcased her strong arm from the catcher position, helping the Warriors advance to the final by throwing out a would be base-stealer to end the game.
Junior captain Allie Borowsky returns as the Warriors' go-to pitcher. She's an efficient finesse-type pitcher with a strong command of the strikezone.
Offensively, the Warriors must replace the production of Bridget Lussier, but they will have Kayla Kowalczyk back after missing last season with an ACL injury. Ashley Zink returns at second base. Sophomores Julia O'Connor and Emma Parkington will split time at third base. Freshman Marki LaRochelle takes over in left field.
Despite falling just short of the Western Mass. title, coach Dustin Belcher hopes the close games in the tournament and against tough teams such as Pittsfield will help it embark on another postseason run.
Coach: Mike Ameen, second year
Last year: 13-7, Western Massachusetts D-III semifinals loss to Monson
Key returnees: Sienna Witherall, senior; Erin Girard, senior; Kali Puppolo, junior; Alyssa Pause, junior.
Outlook: In his first season back as head coach after four years as MCLA's head softball coach, Mike Ameen took the Hurricanes to the Western Mass. semifinals for the first time since 2011. The core of that team returns and Hoosac expects to have another competitive season.
Kali Puppolo returns as the top option at pitcher. Ameen said Puppolo's strong work ethic leads to success in the circle. He's been her pitching coach since she was seven years old and the junior continues to progress.
Seniors Sienna Witherall and Erin Girard provide strong offensive and defense at first base and shortstop, respectively. Abby Jamros will be patrolling center field.
Hailey Adelt continues to improve after moving to third base last season. Gabby Vincent and Liz Levesque will see increased roles as well.
Coach: Lauren Finnegan, second year
Last year: 12-9, Western Massachusetts D-III first-round loss to Athol
Key returnees: Kendra Williams, junior; Courtney Picard, senior; Amy Goss, senior; Shannon Finnegan, sophomore.
Outlook: Lee rode a hot start to the season to a Western Mass. tournament berth in coach Lauren Finnegan's first year at the helm. While Lee returns several key players, two players that Lee must replace are catcher Nikki Laudon and third baseman Sam Farina. Replacing Farina's offensive production will be imperative, while Laudon had a strong all-around game and good chemistry with pitcher Kendra Williams. Shannon Finnegan will be tasked with running the show from the catcher position, after playing shortstop last season. The sophomore is new to the position, but Lauren Finnegan said her daughter spent time in the offseason becoming familiar with the position and Williams' repertoire.
Senior Amy Goss will shift to shortstop, while Molly Carlotto will flank her at second base. Karen Hernandez and Morgan Powers bring speed to the outfield.
Coach: Peggy Steuerwald, third year
Last year: 3-17
Key returnees: Molly O'Brien, junior; Anna Lynch, sophomore; Hannah Sibley, junior; Morgan Lesvesque, sophomore.
Outlook: Lenox is looking to improve on the experience gained last season. The Millionaires return several young players that played key roles, and the future looks bright with only two juniors on the rosters. Upperclassmen Molly O'Brien and Hannah Sibley bring leadership to the team. O'Brien is a strong hitter and handles the catching duties as well. Sibley's versatility is vital. She plays several positions in the field and serves as a back-up pitcher as well.
Anna Lynch will be the main starter in the circle. Sophomore captains Riley Burke and Morgan Levesque will anchor the defense at the shortstop and center field positions, respectively. Despite their youth, Steuerwald said earning a tournament berth is still a goal for the team.
Coach: Fred Shaw, second year
Last year: 9-10, Western Massachusetts D-III first-round loss to Easthampton
Key returnees: Emily Shaw, senior; Lizzy Troiano, senior; Amanda Morse, senior; Siobhan Yaple, senior.
Outlook: Monument Mountain is riding a wave of positivity into the new season, after earning its first Western Mass. tournament berth in eight years. The Spartans return a mix of youth and experience, with their eyes set on a return to the tournament.
Alexa Troiano will be the main pitcher, after splitting time between at third base and the circle last season. Coach Fred Shaw said Troiano is a finesse pitcher and is improving daily. She'll be throwing to senior Lizzy Troiano at catcher.
Emily Shaw (first base), Amanda Morse (left field) and Siobhan Yaple (shortstop) provide senior leadership as starting players.
Senior utility player Adelaide McFarland will fill several roles and Izzy Whalen will fill Troiano's spot at third base and be a backup pitcher.
Shaw said if his team plays solid defense and progressively offensively, a return to the tournament should be in the cards.
Coach: Kurt DeGrenier, eighth year
Last year: 18-5, Western Massachusetts D-III semifinals loss to Turners Falls
Key returnees: Chandler DeGrenier, senior; Morgan DeGrenier, junior; Gwenodlyn Carpenter, freshman; Emily Coon, Senior.
Outlook: Expectations at Mount Everett remain high, now two years removed from losing prolific pitcher Alicia Bazonski. Sisters and battery mates Chandler and Morgan DeGrenier have comfortably stepped into leadership roles, and the Eagles lost only two starters from last season. They'll look to freshman Madison Ullrich to fill one of the voids in the infield. Gwendolyn Carpenter returns as the catalyst of the offense and in center field. Senior Emily Coon brings solid defensive at shortstop, as well.
Devan Galli and Kersten Cutlip will play the corner outfield positions and freshman Marion DeVoti will be on the first base bag.
The Eagles must start the season on the right foot, as they're facing a tough early-season schedule with games against Pittsfield, Hoosac Valley, Turners Falls and Wahconah.
Coach: Kyle Kasala, first year
Last year: N/A
Key returnees: Olivia Mazzeo, senior; Cate Bean, senior; Colleen Baker, senior; Ilyssa Creamer, senior.
Outlook: With just 11 players on the roster, St. Joseph will not have the deepest team. However, it should be able to regularly field a team, after forfeiting games last season. Seniors Olivia Mazzeo and Cate Bean will split time between shortstop and pitcher for the Crusaders. Camila Gomez will play third base and freshman Emily Hamilton will play second base. Ilyssa Creamer brings speed and athleticism to the center field position. Kate Wiles is in left field, while first-year players sophomores Wendy Wu and Nina Ning will split time in right. Coach Kasala said he wants his team to compete in every game and earning a Western Mass. tournament berth is the goal for the season.
Coach: Robin Finnegan, second year
Last year: 6-14
Key returnees: Haley Malloy, senior; Alanza Quinones, junior; Taylor Sprague, sophomore; Julia Esoldi, sophomore.
Outlook: McCann is looking to build off the strong chemistry displayed under second-year coach Robin Finnegan. Despite their losing last year, the Hornets battled throughout the season, and the progress gained during last season should show on the field. Haley Malloy returns as the No. 1 pitching option. She'll be throwing to Alanza Quinones. The junior catcher is a strong receiver behind the plate and should be the Hornets' main run producer as well. Outside of Quinones, however, Finnegan said she wants to see how the offense handles live pitching early.
Sophomores Taylor Sprague (third base) and Julia Esoldi (center field), bring strong defense to their respective positions. Freshmen Meghan Goyette (pitcher) and Aubrey Tetlow (catcher), will provide depth off the bench.