BY RICKY ST. CLAIR
---- — PLATTSBURGH — After a 2-14 campaign a season ago, the only direction the Clinton Community College softball team can go is up.
The Cougars welcome back three players from last year’s roster — two of which graduated from North Country high schools.
Sami Stoughton, who returns to the diamond in her second year as coach, said the three veteran players along with a mix of athletic newcomers should pay dividends this spring.
“After last year, I didn’t know what I was coming back to,” Stoughton said. “Our team, though, is depending on Meg Barber, Ileana Emeterio and Molly Rascoe for leadership.
“They have a year of college softball under their belt, so they know what it has to offer.
“We have a number of area athletes joining the team who are more than capable of contributing from the get-go. There’s a lot of depth and our freshmen know the game well.”
Among the newcomers showing promise are Alisha Ducatte (Saranac), Lyndale Nephew (Seton Catholic), Alyssa Rabideau (Northeastern Clinton) and Christine Darrah (AuSable Valley).
“They’ve all been working hard throughout the preseason,” Stoughton said. “They will all be making an appearance in the infield at one time or another. Our infield shows a lot of potential, and we look to use it to our advantage.”
Stoughton said Ducatte, Nephew, Rascoe and Rabideau are all power hitters from the plate and are expected to get on base often.
“(Ducatte) has shown a strong bat and will see a lot of plate appearances early in the order,” Stoughton said. “(Rabideau) should make an impact, too.”
Ducatte will play at shortstop where she’ll anchor an infield that includes Rascoe at first base, Nephew at second and Rabideau at third.
Emily Cutting (Moriah) will be in right field, while Alyssa Sullivan (Westport) and Kaila McGowan will start in center field and left field, respectively.
Sasha Small will see time in the outfield as well.
Barber will catch for a rotation that includes Darrah, Megan Kanaly and Andrea Le Vien (Elizabethtown-Lewis).
“We’re hoping for a three-pitcher rotation on a game-to-game basis,” Stoughton said. “We can’t rely on one more than the other. (Darrah) is our leadoff pitcher.”
Stoughton said her goal heading into the season it to finish with a winning record.
“Our goal is to make a run for a Region III playoff berth, but have fun in the process,” Stoughton said. “We’re working hard and there’s a lot of heart and dedication on this team.”
Clinton is slated to open its schedule Monday on the road against Columbia-Greene for 3 p.m.
The Cougars will play 11 doubleheaders in all, including five twinbills at home.Clinton Community College 2013 softball roster Name No. Pos. Year Lyndale Nephew 15 2B Fr. Alisha Ducatte 10 SS Fr. Meg Barber 13 C Sr. Molly Rascoe 16 1B Sr. Christine Darrah 5 P Fr. Alyssa Rabideau 4 3B Fr. Alyssa Sullivan 11 OF Fr. Kristen Bashaw 21 OF Fr. Andrea Le Vien 22 P Fr. Ileana Emeterio 19 OF Sr. Megan Kanaly 20 P Fr. Kaila McGowan 1 OF Fr. Emilyanne Cutting 8 OF Fr. Sasha Small 2 OF Fr. -- 2013 schedule Columbia-Greene CC March 25 3 p.m. (2) Away Adirondack CC April 03 3:30 p.m. (2) Away SUNY Delhi April 06 2 p.m. (2) Home Herkimer CCC April 07 2 p.m. (2) Away North Country April 12 6 p.m. (2) Away Finger Lakes CC April 14 1:30 p.m. (2) Away Fulton Montgomery CC April 16 3 p.m. (2) Home North Country April 18 3 p.m. (2) Home Hudson Valley CC April 23 3 p.m. (2) Away Mohawk CC April 27 2 p.m. (2) Home Jefferson CC April 30 3 p.m. (2) Home