PLATTSBURGH — Last season, the Clinton Community College softball team went winless with 10 freshmen on its roster.
With all of one player returning, the Cougars will have a new look in 2014.
Sami Stoughton, now in her third season at the helm, welcomes 10 newcomers to the program — nine of which are from Clinton and Essex County.
“I think we’re going to have a little more umph out there,” Stoughton said. “We have some girls coming in from around the area. We’re looking solid, but we need to get outside a little more.”
After losing a three-pitcher rotation a season ago, Stoughton will look to Olivia Furnia and Linzee Wright to throw a significant number of innings on the mound.
“Olivia Furnia and Linzee Wright are our two primary pitchers,” Stoughton said. “They’re looking pretty consistent in the early going. Olivia and Linzee are the only two pitchers I’ve worked with, so I’m confident they can get the job done.”
Kyli Swires, Lyndale Nephew, Sarah Downey and Wright will see time in the infield, while Rachel Provost, Jessica Baker, Jessie Stone, Alyson Arnold and Furnia will patrol the outfield.
“I’m optimistic about our infield,” Stoughton said. “As long as we communicate and stay upbeat, we won’t have any problems there at all.
“Some of our outfielders are still getting used to playing their new position. The adjustment period typically takes a couple of weeks. It will certainly help when we get outside.”
Stoughton expects to get production from the top-half of the lineup, especially from a trio of recent Peru graduates who are all big swingers and are capable of doing damage.
“Olivia Furnia will provide a spark as our leadoff batter,” Stoughton said. “Three Peru graduates — Linzee Wright, Shannon Bombard and Madeline Barber — will be our 3-4-5 hitters. Shannon is our power hitter, for sure. A majority of our lineup has been hitting the ball well off the pitching machine in the gym, which we set as high as 70 mph.