With seniors Madison Oberg and Kasey McGraw leading the charge, the Comets are gunning for a fourth straight Southwestern Conference softball title this spring.
“I’d say those two are our leaders. They’re four-year starters. They were starters on that team that went to state. So they know what it takes,” said varsity coach Lacey Reichert.
Oberg was named Lorain County Division 1 Pitcher of the Year in 2017-2018. At shortstop, McGraw earned SWC Player of the Year honors.
Both were named All-Ohio.
That experience, along with four other returning starters who got significant playing time last year, will be Amherst’s strength, Reichert said.
“They want to win,” she said. “We can hit. If we can play good defense and get good pitching, which I’m confident we’ll do, we should be able to score some runs and win some games.”
McGraw leads off the batting order and is capable of getting on base and moving runners more or less at will.
In the middle of the order, there are a few girls who can knock the ball out any time, said Reichert.
And then there’s Cassidy Kettleman, the left-handed freshman who is expected to excel.
“She can hit for power, she can drag, she can slap,” Reichert said. “She’s just very multidimensional at the plate, which sets up well for us with the rest of our line-up,”
The squad is now at training camp in Cocoa Beach, Fla., where they have five games to prep for the season.
Reichert said it will be good for her young girls to see strict competition right off the bat, so to speak, but also a bonding experience.
When they return, they’ll face a tough schedule — and that’s on purpose.
In conference play, Midview and Avon are anticipated to be worthy foes again. And the non-conference schedule has been designed to be as competitive as possible, said Reichert.
The Comets will play Massillon Perry, which won the Division 1 state championship; Perrysburg, which made the state final four; Oak Harbor, a powerhouse in Division 2; and Eastwood, which has a pitcher going to Rutgers.
Hopefully that will get the Comets ready for the mid-May tournament trail.
“We want to see good pitchers, good hitters, who put the ball in play and make our defense work. We want to see every possible situation, scenario we can leading into tournament time,” Reichert said.
“What we’ve told the girls is we’ve got to win every game because everybody wants to beat the team that’s won the past three SWC championships.”