KINGMAN - The key to a successful season, according to Kingman High softball coach Dave Vance, will be how the Lady Bulldogs fill the void left by top pitcher Stephanie Weyermiller.
"We are going to go as far as our pitching will take us," Vance said.
Junior Danni Lee is expected to get a majority of the innings while senior Lindsey Soles will also see some time in the circle. Last year, Lee was 3-3 as a sophomore and split time behind Weyermiller and departed senior Hannah Vance.
"All I'm asking the pitchers to do is throw strikes and let our defense take care of the rest," Vance said.
The good news for Vance is the defense has looked pretty solid in practice. Freshman Taylor Olivas and junior Toria Williams plug the middle of the infield at shortstop and second base. Soles and fellow senior Raenay Wilson will anchor the corners at third and first base, respectively, while the outfield will consist of, from left, sophomore Alana Edgecomb, senior Libby LeClaire and senior Monique Bermudez.
The Lady Bulldogs will open the season today at the Wickenburg tournament and will see if the effort in practice will translate into wins.
"That's the big question," Vance said.
As for the lineup, Vance feels it's pretty solid from the top of the order to the bottom, with Soles and junior catcher Juanitta Cooper providing most of the power for a team that will rely heavily on fundamentals to score runs.
"We don't really have a true weak spot," Vance said of the lineup. "Are we going to hit home runs? No. We have to do the little things like bunt runners over and try to get them in that way."
Others expected to contribute to a team looking to improve from last year's 7-20 finish include junior Destiny Bedow, seniors Olivia Sepulveda and Vanessa Ozanne, and sophomore Brittany Weese.
"It's not like we have any superstars on our team. Everybody just goes out and does their job," Vance said. "I'm excited. It's fun. We are doing a lot of teaching this year. The thing I like is the girls are soaking it in. We are having fun and that's the bottom line."