By Dave Poe, Parkersburg News
He didn't plan it that way, but when second-year PHS softball coach Ron Perdue looked at his team's roster, he noticed there were 6 seniors, six juniors, six sophomores and six freshmen.
"We have a good mix of older and younger players," said Perdue. "we're pretty excited."
Parkersbug has ample pitching. Start with sophomore Cassidy Newbrough, who pitched 29 games last year. Add Parkersburg Catholic transfer Rachel Slone, a senior who did the majority of pitching for the Crusdarers a year ago. Then there's freshman Haley Ackerman, who Perdue believes is ready for varsity competition.
Whoever is pitching at the time will be throwing to sophomore catcher Brittany Allison, whose goal is to play softball in college. SHe made a great impression s a freshman. Now, she has a year of varsity experience to go with her great potential.
Sophomore Haley Ball is the leading candidate at 1st base, where she seems to be at home. She'll be compteting for the position with senior Courtney Bee. Perdue said whoever is hitting better likely will get the majority of the playing time.
Before last year's season began, Perdue moved Taylor Beckley, who started in right field as a freshman, to 2nd base. The move paid off and she will be there again this year, for her junior season. Beckley not nly is a good fielder, but she can do whatever is required at the plate from bunting to power hitting.
Junior Kaleigh Westfall returns at shortstop. She's worked hard to improve her fielding and arm strength. Westfall was Pakersburg's leadoff hitter a year ago.
Slone and Mallory Goots are vying for the 3rd base slot. Whoever doesn't play the position will likely serve as PHS's designated hitter.
Senior Melanie Nething is a 3 year starter who will man the centerfield position, which suits her ability to track down anything hit her way as well as her strong throwing arm. She is known for making some highlight reel catches.
Junior Morgan Lanham will hold down left field. She has speed to burn and that makes her a tough out. If she puts the ball in play, she has a good chance of beating the throw to first.
Speedy freshman Baylee Hilling and senior Arianna Mercer are competing for right field. Mercer is a versatile player who can play virtually anywhere.
Speaking of speed, Warren transfer Sara Nay will be called upon to do a lot of rnning. Perdue plans to use her in as many situations as possible.
Parkersburg plans to be competitive in the Mountain State Athletic Conference and to win the sectional with their depth and talent.