NEW PARIS — There are high expectations heading into this season for National Trail’s softball team.
The Blazers return their entire infield from a season ago, including senior captains Alexus Acton at catcher and Aleah Hunt at first base. In the middle infield, it will be Kerestin Nugent and Ariel Lee holding down the fort while Payten Laird is back on the mound.
“I have high expectations for this year. We have a lot of talent and we are overall a very strong team offensively and defensively,” said head coach Krista Alldred. “We have great leadership this year and they set high expectations for our younger girls. Everyone is falling in place and meshing very well.”
While they return plenty of experience, Trail also has several up-and-comers that will provide options as well – a luxury the team has not always had, added Alldred.
The team did lose two outfielders from last season but senior Kim Dennull is expected to step up into one of those empty spots. There are six freshmen that will compete for the other starting spots available.
But while it is a new year and new season, the goal always remains the same.
“We want to compete for the league, which is always a goal for us, as well as going far into the tournament. It’s nice because this year with all of our young talent we have a lot more options that we haven’t had a lot of in the past,” said Alldred.
The team knows those are the expectation as well and they are ready to step up to the challenge.
“I think the biggest thing is to keep the team focused on the end goal of winning, taking it one day at a time. They have come a long way the last couple of years and it has been so fun to see how much they have grown as a program,” said Alldred. “We are working hard at each practice on specific things and they come in focused every day and ready to work.”
Trail’s first game was on Tuesday, March 29 against Franklin Monore. They are also scheduled to host Mississinawa Valley on Thursday, March 30 at 5 p.m. They end the week with a double-header at Fort Recovery, starting at 11 a.m.
Reach Jeremy Erskine at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.