Despite the loss of the 2020 season and two years worth of graduations, the Swanton softball team will field a relatively experienced squad this year.
The Bulldogs return six letter winners from their 2019 sectional championship team.
Leading the way is senior catcher Rachel Waszak, who hit .536 her sophomore year. She was named first team all-district and second team All-NWOAL.
Southpaw Brianna Williams returns in the circle for Swanton after finishing 11-2 with a 3.48 ERA as a freshman. She also hit .419 and was honorable mention all-league.
Her pitching, along with that of freshman righty Taylor Forrest, will be among the strengths of the team, according to veteran coach Joe Nye. Defense was also cited a team strength.
Other returnees for the Bulldogs are seniors Kailey Brownfield (2B), Emma Operacz (IF), Bailey Arnold (OF), and junior Trista Eitniear (IF).
However, the Bulldogs did lose several key players to graduation from the 2019 team that set the school record with 19 wins. That includes Kylie Ulch, who hit .610 and was first team all-league and all-district. Others gone are Jessica Dohm, honorable mention all-league, Alexis Sarvo, Alexis Bergman, Olivia Bergman, and Kara Truckor.
Looking to fill the void will be a host of newcomers. They include Forrest, Ryeannah Kesler, Kyleigh Shinaver, Amy Lawson, Samantha Nelson, Alaina Pelland, Aricka Lutz, Averie Lutz, and Jayden Hendricks.
Wauseon is the defending NWOAL champion, while Swanton finished 3-4 in league play. Nye mentioned Wauseon, Bryan, Archbold and Evergreen as the top teams in the league.
The Bulldogs open the season Saturday with a home doubleheader against Woodward.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010