“We’re looking to keep building off what coach [Matt] Lawless started the past few years,” said Roswell head coach Ben Sutter, who takes over the program after two years as an assistant on Lawless’ staff.
Lawless, who led Roswell to their best season since 2005 and one run away from the state playoffs last season, left Roswell to become the athletic director at Cambridge High School.
“We have a lot of girls coming back, we have some strong freshmen and sophomores coming up and we really feel like we can have a great year,” Sutter said.
Of Roswell’s key returners, none may be more important that junior pitcher Paige Hartley — a lefty hurler returning to the circle for her third straight year as Roswell’s ace.
Described as a strike thrower who just gets outs, Sutter said a veteran pitcher like Hartley is a key to success at the high school level.
“You hate to say she is old reliable, but having a pitcher like her is going to make my job so much easier. We are confident in what she can do, we know what to expect and we know that is a spot we won’t have to worry about,” said Sutter, who pointed out that the pitching staff as a whole will also improve with talented young arms in the freshman and sophomore class providing more depth than they had in the past.
At the plate, seniors Shannon Patrick, Kelsey O’Rielly and Alyssa Martinek will lead a lineup which Sutter expects to be an improvement from a year ago — despite the loss of power hitting catcher Erin Vickery.
“Vickery was a big part of our offense, but with those seniors in the lineup I am confident in what we can do,” Sutter said. “Kelsey can hit for average and really run, Shannon is solid, and Alyssa was in the middle of our lineup last year.”
Roswell was also placed in a new region for the 2012-13 season, one that Sutter expects to be a competitive group with five of eight teams (Milton, Cherokee, Etowah, Woodstock and Lassiter) coming off state playoff trips a year ago.
“Every time we play a region game we know we’ll have a battle ahead of us and we’re looking forward to seeing how we compare as a team,” Sutter said.
The Lady Hornets will play a Green and White Scrimmage tomorrow before opening up the regular season with a double header against Westminster Saturday. Region play will commence Aug. 23 at home against Woodstock.