The Pendleton County softball team returns an experienced group entering the 2012 season for first-year coach Greg Smith.
The Lady Wildcats, who finished last year with a 12-10 record, won the sectional championship last season, but ran into a talented East Hardy team and lost in the regional semifinals.
Pendleton County has the luxury of returning Class A, All-State pitcher Codi Evick.
Veteran players returning for Pendleton County include, from left, Morgan Keplinger and Codi Evick
Evick, who has already signed to play college softball at West Virginia State University, is poised to have a solid campaign.
"Codi has been a great pitcher for us in the past and she is a good one to build a team around," Smith said. "We need her to have another strong season this year and help carry us."
Also returning are seniors Morgan Keplinger, Kara Holloway and Sierra Holloway.
Keplinger is the team's starting catcher, while the Holloway twins will battle either at second base or third base this year.
"We need Keplinger and the Holloway sisters to help lead us this year," Smith said. "They're going to have be team leaders and set good examples for our younger girls."
Juniors Danielle Gray, Raven Turner and Nicole Hedrick also return with experience.
Gray will be the team's starting center fielder, while Turner will see time at first base. Hedrick will be used primarily as a utility player.
"We've got a good group of seniors and juniors that will get a lot of playing time," Smith said. "I'm hoping with their experience, we could have a good year."
Sophomore Brittany Huffman is also projected to see time on the mound for the Lady Wildcats.
"We do have a lot of younger girls who could see some time at some point," Smith said. "It should be an interesting battle for the last couple of spots in the lineup."
Pendleton County travels to Eastern Mennonite on March 18 for its season opener.