Despite the lack of outdoor time, head coach Jeff Putnam thinks the team will be ready to go once they step outside and onto the grass for the first game of the season.
“The girls are real interested to learn,” said Putnam, who is in his second year as head coach after a number of years as an assistant. Learning to play at a varsity level will be key, as the team only returns four players with varsity experience. The team is going through a rebuild year, as six of the 10 players are freshmen.
Returning players include seniors Sam Morse and Bailey Gouin and juniors Leah Putnam and Callie Dix. New to the team are freshmen Loren Pike, Kara Bird, Emily Hohn, Prue Ketcham, Celia Betit, and Brianna O’Hearn.
Putnam said the team is still working on position players. Leah Putnam and O’Hearn should be the Wildcat pitchers to open the season.
“It will come down to who can throw strikes,” said Putnam. “We had pitching issues early last season, hopefully we can avoid those this year.”
The Wildcats are clearly ready to get out of the gym and onto the grass. “We’ve had to work with practice balls and hit in the batting cage,” said Putnam.
Aside from frustration with the late winter, Putnam is disappointed to only have 10 players, with the possibility of adding one more midseason. Last year’s squad boasted 19 players.
Putnam also knows that with only 10 players, there’s not much margin for error when it comes to fielding a team. “We’re one player with the flu or a sore arm away from having to forfeit a game.”
In 2016, the team finished with a 1-15 regular season record, which earned them a thirteenth seed in the division 3 playoffs. They were bounced from the tournament in the first round by Leland & Gray.
As for this season, Putnam is hopeful that once the team gets on the grass, they’ll improve and play well. “With only 10 players,” he said, “we better be good.”
The Wildcats open up with a busy week on the road, traveling to West Rutland Monday afternoon for a 4:30 game. Then they head back up Route 7 on Wednesday to face Burr & Burton Academy. First pitch is slated for 4:30 pm