Two area softball teams will get their seasons underway this week.
Buckhannon-Upshur will entertain East Fairmont in its season opener today at 4:30 p.m., while Tygarts Valley begins its campaign against Highland County in Covington (Va.) on Friday.
The Lady Bucs, who finished last season with a 24-10 record and lost to Bridgeport (6-5) in the regional semi-finals, returns an experience team for 2011.
Ace pitcher Kayla Linger will lead the charge as she returns for her senior season. Linger had a 14-9 record with a 1.16 ERA and 144 strikeouts last year. She also led the team in hitting with a .398 batting average.
"We are hoping she can have another good year hitting and pitching," said Buckhannon-Upshur coach Tom Hasbrouck. "She has had a good start to this preseason and hopefully it will continue."
Returning infielders include Brooklyn Waddell, Morgan Wright and Carly Gregory. Kansas Ledezma will move to catcher after serving as the teams' center fielder last year.
Tabby Bennett, Clair Linger and Kesley Wagoner all return with experience in the outfield.
Newcomers this year include Alexis McDaniels, Lindsay Wagoner, Taylor Fealy and Megan Williams.
Amanda Lewis transfered from University and will also likely see time in the outfield.
"It helps that we return a good amount of our players from last year" said Hasbrouck. "If we can get a couple positions squared away, we should be in good shape."
Tygarts Valley, meanwhile, will look to bounce back from a disappointing 2010 season as first-year head coach Todd McCoy attempts to turn the program around.
The Lady Bulldogs have seniors Tailia Murray (pitcher/outfielder), Shauna Taylor (pitcher) and Megan Currence (third basemen) all back with experience.
Juniors Whitney Collins (outfield) and Brittany Schamblin (infielder), and sophomore Alexis Vandevender also returns with some varsity experience.
Incoming players Jamie Kerns, Natasha Howell, Paige Pritt, Alexis Taylor and Cheyene Martin should also contribute.
"We need our older girls to step up and contribute this year," said McCoy, who also serves as the Bulldogs' head football coach. "We have a lot of young skilled girls that could all see time because they've been showing me good things.
"Once we get things started I think we should be strong defensively. Our pitching should also be alright."
, and hopefully the hitting will come around once we gain some experience."