The Chambersburg softball team has won District 3 championships the last two seasons and both years reached the PIAA semifinals before losing to eventual champion Hempfield Area.
Eight players from those teams graduated last spring.
This year, the Trojans have only one senior on their roster.
But Chambersburg coach Chris Skultety is bubbling with excitement and can’t wait to see how his young team can do. The first scheduled game is Monday at Waynesboro, 4:15 p.m.
“We’ve only been outside once (a scrimmage at Mechanicsburg on Monday), and I was surprised how well we hit the ball,” Skultety said. “And we are really fast.”
Skultety is hoping his speedy offense and defense can hold the fort until an inexperienced pitching staff can reach a comfort level.
He expects junior Sophia Loukopoulos and freshmen Brooklyn Miller and Mackenzie Stake to be the main pitchers.
“I like their attitude,” Skultety said. “There is no deer-in-the-headlights, and no backing down with them. But we may need to score five or six runs a game until they mature and get some experience in the Mid Penn Conference.”
Two returning starters will anchor the team: outfielder Taylor Myers, who had a brilliant freshman season (.452 batting average, 14 RBIs, 14 stolen bases) and shortstop Alexis Estep.
In addition, Molly Keefer was a speed demon on the base paths and Kara Neidigh got some time in the outfield.
Hannah Weagley, Summer Sellers and Hailey Privett are possible catchers; infielders include Keefer, Kirsten Johnson, Haiden Brookens, Stake, Loukopoulos, Sellers, Rebecca Fischer, Miller, Sara Washabaugh and Privett; and other outfielders include Laikyn Wagner, Alyssa Wenger and Johnson.
“You lose eight seniors, and people will say, ‘Now what are you going to do?'” Skultety said. “But the girls looked good in that scrimmage, so the expectations are now maybe a little higher.
“We have a great group of girls. They are young, but they listen, and they want to learn, learn, learn. This is the next cycle of players, and think that’s starting to work for us.”
NOTES: Chambersburg was 20-6 last year … The Trojans have not lost at home since the 2015 season … The first home game is Tuesday vs. Red Land at 4:15 … The roster of 16 includes three freshmen and three sophomores … Chambersburg added a strong non-league opponent in Central York, defending YAIAA champion, at home on May 4 … Skultety believes Central Dauphin and Cedar Cliff have the two strongest teams on paper in the Mid Penn Commonwealth.