Despite several feet of snow still lingering on local ball fields, the Maine-Presque Isle softball team has been practicing daily since mid-January. Due to several injuries, third year head coach Peter Coffin will only have 11 players to handle an ambitious 40 game schedule. Given the small roster, perseverance will be key as the Owls are currently on their spring break trip that includes 17 scheduled games and more than 3,000 miles of travel in an extended week-long extravaganza of softball.
Multiple standout performers return to the field this season including tri-captains Krista Coffin, Whitney Donovan and Brittany Luetjen. Coffin is a four-year starter on the mound for the Owls and has been swinging a strong stick, batting .421 in seven early season games for the Blue & Gold. Donovan, a junior infielder, is hitting .308 this year and will also be used as part of the Owl pitching staff, after winning two games last year in just 6 appearances. Senior Luetjen will man second base and with her ability to consistently hit the ball hard, she will hit in the middle of the order.
Sophomore outfielder Amanda Allen has been a pleasant surprise, hitting .400 from the leadoff spot. Allen currently leads the Owl attack in both hits and runs in the early season. Classmates Shannon Brown and Katie Patenaude have been leaders on the field, with Brown playing several infield spots and leading the Presque Isle attack in RBI with 8 and Patenaude hitting .261 and calling the games from behind the plate.
Taylor Cochran will lead the outfield from centerfield and freshmen Hannah Boyce and Jordan Jandreau will log time at the corners with Allen. Cochran is intelligent and sure-handed, "I will look to her to make sure the outfield is doing the little things well," noted Coach Coffin.
Junior Alyson Pullen is hitting .400 while manning first for the Owls and has had a knack for knocking in runs early. Pullen is second on the squad with 7 RBI. Boyce will back Pullen up in addition to her outfield duties.
"We will rely heavily on the pitching arm of Krista Coffin, said Coach Coffin. "Krista is entering her senior year as a four year starter and has worked extremely hard to make her last season her best."
Freshman Kate Dow will backup Coffin on the mound and see time in the outfield as needed. "Our season could be very rewarding if we can avoid the injury bug," added Coach Coffin. "Most of the players are able to play two or three positions with equal ability."
"Offensively, we came out in our first games at Maine Maritime and showed we could hit this year. Several players were able to have productive days at the plate. I am hoping we can continue to put the bat on the ball and force the defense to get us out."
"We are anxious to get outside on the field so we can see what we can do. I suspect that we will make some mistakes early, but I am hoping we can have a quick learning curve so we can move forward."
"I am extremely excited to see what we can do this year, I have never had such a great group of young players. They are always asking questions and we work hard on developing softball knowledge during practice time. This team is going to surprise some teams and hopefully we can learn how to win early and keep the momentum going."