Lakeside returns six starters from the 2019 season but the Dragons remain a work in progress in the pitching circle.
Fortunately for head coach Jodi Candela, the Dragons have the ability to score runs in bunches to keep the team in any game it plays.
“Hitting will be our biggest strength as we have six girls who also play travel ball. Adding to our strengths is the senior leadership we will have as well,” Candela said. “Pitching is our biggest weakness. We have three girls that will pitch for us but pitching is not their main position. Our plan is to play great defense behind them and execute plays and eliminate as many walks as possible.”
Versatility will play a key role for the Dragons as they look to improve upon their 11-14 record from 2019.
“We have five seniors that can play multiple positions,” Candela said. “Three of those seniors will also pitch for us. With six returning letter winners and starters, it made it a little less stressful as far as planning lineups. We have girls that can play; it is just a matter of placing them in the best position possible to help the team be successful.”
Beyond the starting lineup, the Dragons are short on numbers so their success hinges on staying healthy this season.
On the field, it’s going to fall on the shoulders of the seniors to keep the team focused each game.
“We must use the experience we have to execute our game plans,” Candela said. “Our pitchers must eliminate walks and we need to put the ball in play on offense.”
Seniors Kassidy Baumgartner, Eva DeCamillo, Sidney Griffith, Kalee Grimmett, Maddy McCrone, and Kaitlyn Mead will be counted on to make plays and provide the leadership the younger Dragons will need as they settle into their varsity roles.
Baumgartner and DeCamillo are outfielders.
Griffith, the 2019 Ashtabula County Player of the Year and a University of Toledo signee, will play shortstop.
“She will be a four-year letter winner as well as a four-year captain for us,” Candela said. “Sid is every coach’s dream. She goes above and beyond all the time and always makes it real. Her softball IQ is what puts her ahead of many.”
Grimmett, a Lakeland Community College commitment, can play first or third base and is one of the most powerful hitters in the area.
“She brings much experience to the team and will also bring knowledge of the game to the table as well,” Candela said.
McCrone and Mead are both utility players who can play in the infield or outfield.
“Seniors Katlyn Mead, Maddy McCrone, and Eva DeCamillo also bring varsity and travel ball experience and will also contribute on the pitcher’s mound as well as in the outfield,” Candela said. “They, along with Sid and Kalee, will bring great leadership to the team, which is what every coach longs for.”
Juniors Nicole Lemponen and Naomi Cruz are projected to catch and play second base, respectively.
The rest of the lineup will be a work in progress.