Coach: David Young, fifth season in second stint
2013: District runner-up
Returning Letterwinners: Seniors Kelsi Knapp (LF); Justeen Searfoss (C); Maranda Stansberry (CF). Juniors Kalene Johnson (1B); Katie Taylor (2B); Abby Young (UTL). Sophomores Kyla Cusac (P); Jaya Smalley (UTL).
Others: Juniors Adrianna Frey (UTL); Allison Riedlinger (UTL). Freshmen Sara Gier (P); Madison Vince (OF); Maddison Stansberry (3B).
Outlook: For only the second time in program history, Upper Sandusky reached the district finals last year. But once there, it was a familiar foe that ended its season. Milan Edison knocked the Rams from the tournament for the fourth-straight year.
One thing's for sure, this year won't be five. Edison bumped up to Division II, while the Rams will be back in Division III. Young said for his experienced players, after two district semifinal losses and one loss in the finals, they're eager to take the next step.
"The girls are very positive," he said. "They're already talking tournament. We told them we got a lot to talk about before tournament. We want to have success in the league. But, a lot of the girls, they've been around the three years and they're anxious to get past that step this year."
To help aid in the quest for a district title, Young brings an experienced squad back. Seniors Knapp, Searfoss and Maranda Stansberry lead a group of eight returning letterwinners. Young said a lot of the positions for the start of the season are set with the exception of shortstop, where a few girls are competing for the job.
Cusac is back to handle the bulk of the pitching duties after taking over the job towards the latter end of last season. Young expects her to show a good deal of improvement after an offseason of work.
"Her dad has worked with her, and my daughter Danielle - who's one of our assistants - has worked with her quite a bit. She's really worked on her pitching," Young said. "I thought she handled it very well for a freshman coming in and getting thrown into the fire so to speak. She got rocked a bit, but that comes with the age and inexperience. She's throwing a lot better this year, and I look for her to have a good year."
Young points to Bucyrus and Colonel Crawford as the top contenders for the final North Central Conference title, and Crestline is always a dangerous team. For his team to be in the mix and take the title, he's looking for the offense to step up. He also says a greater amount of team speed will be key for the team.
"We have more speed this year than we had last year," he said. "A lot of the girls are very athletic, we should be quicker this year.
"Last year we didn't have the speed we had this year, but we had decent speed and it worked out for us last year. We should be able to execute better this year."