2018 CVC Softball Preview

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Perry and Kirtland have dominated their respective divisions in the Chagrin Valley Conference.

Independence finally unseated Kirtland last spring to win the Valley Division. Can the Blue Devils defend their title in 2018? Kirtland might have something to say about that and don’t forget about the Berkshire Badgers, who also are capable of winning the title.

Perry returns a star-studded lineup but Wickliffe lost just three games last season, all by one run, and the Blue Devils are hungry for their shot at the Chagrin Division championship.

Here’s a look at how the CVC coaches see things shaking out this spring (click on a team name for a more in-depth preview):

CHAGRIN DIVISION

1. PERRY PIRATES

It’s hard to imagine Perry improving upon its 22-3 record from a season ago, but a quick review of head coach Joe Medlen’s projected lineup and it becomes much easier to believe the Pirates could become even more dominant. Perry returns eight starters including the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division’s reigning MVP and two other first team all-league selections. The Pirates also are much faster than in the past, creating another dynamic opposing teams have to counter.

2. WICKLIFFE BLUE DEVILS

Wickliffe returns seven starters from last year’s team that finished 20-3 overall and 12-2 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division. Three returning starters will become four-year varsity letter winners and Wickliffe added several talented newcomers leaving the Blue Devils cautiously optimistic heading into the 2018 season.

3. GENEVA EAGLES

Geneva’s softball team has the talent to compete for a league title and make a postseason run this spring. Unfortunately for the Eagles, injuries have plagued the team in the preseason. That could slow them down out of the gate, but the Eagles have their eyes on making a run down the stretch. Geneva returns five starters and seven lettermen from last year’s team that finished 11-11 overall.

4. WEST GEAUGA WOLVERINES

Did not respond.

5. ORANGE LIONS

Did not respond.

6. HARVEY RED RAIDERS

Harvey lost a large senior class and returns just two starters this spring, leaving head coach Tiger Alexander rebuilding for the future. Behind its seniors, Harvey finished 11-11 last season but this year the Red Raiders will rely on younger players to step up and compete on a daily basis. Alexander and his staff have worked hard to prepare the Red Raiders to do things the right way.

7. CHAGRIN FALLS TIGERS

Did not respond.

8. BEACHWOOD BISON

Did not respond.

VALLEY DIVISION

1. INDEPENDENCE BLUE DEVILS

Defending champion Independence returns eight starters from last season, including a dynamic 1-2 punch in the circle. The Blue Devils are packed with talent and experience. Head coach Garry Moore has six seniors and four juniors vying for starting roles in the lineup.

2. KIRTLAND HORNETS

With eight returning starters, Kirtland’s softball team has the pieces in place to make a run at defending Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division champion Independence. Kirtland’s lineup features several multi-year starters and Katie McCollister returns to the starting lineup after missing last season with an injury.

3. BERKSHIRE BADGERS

Berkshire returns six starters from the team that finished 12-7 overall and 7-3 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division. The Badgers also added a talented player in Meghan McKeogh, who moved into the district, and return Cheyanne Bosse, one of the top pitchers in the area. With that group of returning starters and the collection of talent in the dugout, head coach Brittany Bakalar has high expectations for her team.

4. CUYAHOGA HEIGHTS REDSKINS

Cuyahoga Heights has more experience than it has had the past couple of seasons giving the Redskins some hope of moving up the standings in the CVC and of making a long postseason run.

5. CARDINAL HUSKIES

Cardinal returns five starters from last year’s team that finished 8-11 but the Huskies are rebuilding their pitching staff. Senior Hanna Traggiai is the only Cardinal pitcher with any high school experience in the circle and she hasn’t thrown a pitch at the varsity level and is returning from a one-year hiatus from the game. While head coach Dennis Ikeler develops his pitching staff, he’ll lean on a capable offense to keep the Huskies in games.

6. HAWKEN HAWKS

Did not respond.

7. FAIRPORT SKIPPERS

Did not respond.

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The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.