High School Sports

High School Softball: State College preview

Coach: Rick Hall, eighth season

Assistants: Mike Harper, Jim Schaper, Lauren Didarba

Last year: 6-11

Key losses: Gretchen Hallberg, OF, Sr.; Hannah Mazzocchi, OF, Sr.;

Key returnees: Jess Henderson, P, So.; Allison Baney, 2B, Sr.; Megan Robert, SS, Jr.; Sharaya Simco, C, Jr.; Cory Marfitt, 3B, So.; Hope Guthoff, C, Sr.; Michaela Rittenhouse, OF, Jr.; Ellie Frey, IF, Soph.; Lexi Mattivi, 1B, Jr.; Sara Flick, OF, Jr.; Hannah Sefter, OF, Sr.; Michaela Francis, 1B, Sr.;

Key newcomers: Laura Harris, P, Jr.; Lauren Weis, OF, Jr.; Hannah Shields, P; Fr.

The skinny: The Lady Little Lions are off to a 2-2 start in their first season in the Mid-Penn Conference. ... State College had its string of five consecutive District 6 Class AAAA titles snapped last season with a semifinal loss against Mifflin County. ... Jess Henderson is a strong arm. ... Harris, a transfer from Moshannon Valley, and Hannah Shields also will see action in the circle. ... Corey Marfitt is a speedy leadoff hitter, who is an excellent bunter. ... Sharaya Simco is an excellent defensive catcher. ... Allison Baney, a solid hitter as a sophomore, missed most of last season with an injury.

Coach Hall says: “Going into the season, I knew we needed to get stronger defensively in the outfield and we needed to be consistent with our hitting, especially with runners in scoring position. If we do that, we’ll be very competitive in the Mid-Penn. ... We probably have more pitching depth than we’ve ever had. Henderson had double strikeouts over walks last year and when she’s on we can play with anybody. With Jess leading that pitching group, I feel confident if we can continue to improve. ... There’s going to be a lot of mixing and matching going on with our lineup as we’ve done in previous years. I will make changes just to look at certain players at certain positions just to see what is going to make us stronger to make that run in districts.”