GUILFORD---The Piscataquis community high school (PCHS) Pirates softball team has a strong nucleus returning from a team that won 10 games and reached the preliminary round of the class C tournament last season.
The field conditions are going to be an issue for many schools this spring season.
With more than a foot of snow still on the fields, it is unlikely that the Pirates will get much outdoor practice time before they start the regular season.
PCHS is scheduled to open the season at Foxcroft on April 22nd. The home opener is scheduled for April 26th.
Unless we see a quick change with the weather, those games will be pushed back a few weeks.
"They will be ready to play softball when they get outside,"PCHS coach Tim Richardson said. "This season could have a couple five games over seven days and that will test anyone."
Most successful teams are strong up the middle.
The Pirates are very strong up the middle with a group that has been playing together for many years.
"The strength is they have been playing together for years now, they know where they stand with each other,"Richardson said. "Up the middle we will be solid, Jade Lamb behind the plate, Courtney Richardson in the circle, and Alex Speed in center. This is where the team will find the leadership."
The Pirates should have a solid lineup with (Alex) Speed at the top of the lineup. Richardson and Jordynne Littlefield will be table setters for the rest of the PCHS lineup.
"Alex Speed leading off, Courtney Richardson hitting second, Jordynne Littlefield batting third will be a tough 1-2-3 in the lineup,"coach Richardson said. "You mix all that up with the bats of Grace Rittaino, Morgan Gray, Delani Bennett and Danica French, it could be an interesting season for the girls."
Richardson and the Pirates will need to find the right mix at shortstop and third base to fill out the experience lineup.
"Challenges will placing the right kids at third and short for a strong infield. The major challenge will be for me to mix and match all the young talent as needed,"Richardson said. "Piscataquis softball has some great freshmen coming in and some Pirate Rec players that will bring a lot of enjoyment to Pirate Softball fans for years to come."
Courtney Richardson, Jade Lamb, and the rest of the Pirates pitchers and catchers started practice in the gym yesterday. The rest of the squad will join them next week.
"This is going to be a fun team to follow, they will have ups and downs but they love the game. Plus I think they know that they have two coaches, coach Tom Riitaino and myself that will support them to the end,"coach Richardson said. "This season will not be judged by the wins or loses, it will be judged by the bond that these kids make. This is a team sport and it will take all of them for an enjoyable season."
The Pirates will be three consecutive home games between May 7th and 12th. Click here for the full schedule.