High School Sports

High School Softball: Bellefonte Preview

Coach: Gregg Kohlhepp, eighth year

Assistants: Nicole Naugle, Shawn Barbrow, Dave Gomola, Greg Tressler, Chris Stathes, Dave Allen, Ron Maurer, Kent Bernier, Ashley Bowes, Alexandra Stathes

Last year: 18-5, District 6 Class AAA champion

Key losses: Hannah Cooper, P; Jess Gmerek, 2B; Jillian Musser, CF; Chrissy Tressler, 3B, Amber Watson, 1B

Key returnees: Erica DeVinney, SS, Sr.; Vanessa Cooper, C, Jr., Jess McClenahan, 3B, Jr., Abby Irwin, P, Sr., Kellie Giles, OF, Jr.., Alicia Allen, OF, Jr.; Carly Chambers, OF, Jr.

Key newcomers: Stevi Confer, P/IF, Soph., Elizabeth Linn, OF, Soph., Taylore Maurer C/1B, Fr., Sarah Menna, P/1B, Soph.; Skylarr Mitchell, P/1B, Sr.; Erin Pugh, C/OF Jr., Olivia Ripka, 2B, Jr., Rachel Bernier, P, Fr.; Sam Gates, OF

The skinny: Bellefonte is off to a 3-1 start this season. The Lady Raiders took the District 6 crown last season for the 12th time in 13 seasons. ... They lost to eventual champion Big Spring in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs. Vanessa Cooper is one of the top power hitters in the County. She hit better than .520 last season and drove in 41 runs. ... Shortstop Erica DeVinney, a career .400+ hitter, helped Bellefonte win the PIAA title in 2010. ... The Lady Raiders have an all new pitching staff this season. ... Stevi Confer, Sarah Menna and Rachel Bernier could see time in the circle this season

Coach Kohlhepp says: “There’s going to be some growing pains and we expect that. When you look at it, only three kids on the team had more than 20 at-bats last season. “We have a lot of kids who have been around the program. We’re really confident that being around last year and seeing what Bellefonte softball is all about, that they’re going to step in and do well. ... We’re excited to see a bunch of new faces out there and see what they can do for us this year.”