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Optimism for the young Lady Hounds

| Thursday, March 20, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Jim Ference / The Valley Independent
Junior pitcher Shelby Minardi and senior shortstop Cara Grogan (background) are two of the key players coach Bo Teets will be counting heavily on.

Fifth-year Monessen softball coach Bo Teets has seen improvement during his tenure, and the team finished 8-9 a year ago.

Even though he lost five players to graduation, Teets knows the formula to his team continuing the move in the right direction.

“We have to get better at every practice and at every game,” he said. “And we will have to make the most of every opportunity when they are presented to us.”

The team is young as there are only two seniors on the team, but Teets knows where he is turning for leadership.

“We are not senior heavy, but we have a lot of experience,” he said. “We have played a lot of games and have to put it all together and that starts with our leaders.”

Senior outfielder Lauren Perry is a three-year starter and junior shortstop Cara Grogan will be leaned on to provide guidance for the young team.

“I will be leaning on Lauren and Cara because of their experience and leadership skills,” Teets said. “They will set the tone and are two of the top players in not the entire class.”

The only other positions that are set in stone as of now are at pitcher where sophomore Shelby Minardi returns to the mound and behind the plate where junior Alexa Vatakis is the catcher.

As a freshman a year ago, Minardi showed flashes of being a potentially dominant hurler.

Teets has an idea who will be at specific positions, but said that the team has to get some time outside before he sets things.

Junior Ebony Davis will play second base while freshman Victoria Cooper could also see time there.

Junior Taylor Guzzie or senior Jackie Wiggins will play third base, and either junior Ondrea Burroughs, sophomore Bailey Matush, or freshman Kelsey Bachinski will play first base.

Freshman Janae Evans will be in the outfield with Perry, and others vying for time there include Wiggins, Burroughs, Matush, Bachinski, and Cooper.

Monessen will compete is Section 2 A along with Carmichaels, Jefferson-Morgan, Serra, California, Frazier, Mapletown and West Greene.

“It is a tough section,” Teets said. “Last year, our section had six pitchers in the top 15 to 20 in strikeouts in the entire WPIAL.

“We will face good pitchers game in and game out, and we are working to get into the playoffs.”

Monessen opens its schedule this weekend as the Lady Greyhounds travel to Jeannette Friday and to Charleroi Saturday for exhibition games.

Bill Hughes is a freelance writer.

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