WESTON - Lewis County head coach Missy Riley returns six key starters from last year's squad.
This has the veteran coach optimistic entering the 2013 campaign.
This unit includes two seniors, three juniors and one sophomore.
Senior Cheyiannea Watson is back at catcher, and gained some valuable experience with her travel team. Cassie Butcher is back at shortstop and will likely be leading off.
She has developed into one of the team's top hitters and base runners.
Junior Tori Shea Riley is back on the mound.
She is a solid pitcher that the team relies on. She was a first-team All-Big 10 Conference performer in 2012, and was named honorable mention all-state.
Traci White and Lindsay Hughes both started in the outfield last year and both had productive years.
White will probably be moved to the infield this season, while Hughes will be an important utility player who Riley plans to use at several positions.
Sophomore Shelby Murphy is the youngest returning starter.
The first baseman gained valuable experience last season and will counted upon more this season.
Riley sees several other players prepared to make some significant contributions.
They include senior Brooke Britton, who is back after a season's absence, junior third baseman Montana Lodge, junior utility player Shelby Sprouse and freshmen Torie Riffle, Lauren Blake, Sarah Hawkins and Chelsea Myers.
"We have a mix of experience and youth on the team this year," Riley said. "We should have solid bats in the lineup.
"That, along with our foot speed on the bases, should make us very productive on offense."
Lewis County will open the season Monday with a home doubleheader against Webster County.
The Minutemaids' other non-conference games include South Harrison, Notre Dame and Hampshire. The league opener is March 21 at home vs. Robert C. Byrd.