With the return of several key players, the Davis & Elkins College softball team hopes to improve on last year's 19-21 mark for second-year coach Kimberly Stiles.
The Lady Senators, which finished 11-9 in league play last season, lost to Ohio Valley in the conference tournament a year ago. D&E?will open the 2012 season today at St. Augustine's College.
"I'm happy with what we return from last year," Stiles said. "I really do think we can make anther trip to the conference tournament and our goal is to be in the championship game and have a chance to win it."
The Lady Senators return junior utility player Carissa Dunn, who was the teams top hitter from last year with a .344 average. She also hit four home runs and drove in 25 runs.
Also returning is first basemen senior Bridget Ours, who led the team with 14 home runs last season. She was also second in batting with a .328 and tallied 42 RBIs.
"We're need Carissa and Bridget to step up and lead us at the plate like they did last year," Stiles said. "They're are two most experience players in the field and at the plate, so hopefully they can show us that."
Seniors infielder Daniella Vineyard is also looking to make an impact for D&E.
Junior infielders Devony Pugh, Lizzy Williamson and Mallory Wishard also bring experience to the field. As does junior outfielder Jennifer Kennon.
Sophomores Samantha Crabtree, Amanda Serafini and Corrine Carrington are all battling for playing time for the Lady Senators.
Freshman Kaitlyn Daugherty will also see time this year off the bench.
The Lady Senators also return starting pitcher Alanna Jones, who will be the teams' No. 1 starter. Jones who had 15 wins last year with 202 strikeouts.
Freshmen Autumn Appleby is projected to make an immediate impact on the mound for D&E.
"I think Alanna and Autumn will be two good pitchers for us," Stiles said. "There are going to have to carry us this year."