By Gregory Sorin
---- — The Cooperstown softball team is preparing for another good season.
“Our pitching and middle infield are strong,” said coach Dave Bliss, who is entering his 13th season at CCS.
He’s said he’s confident that, just like the team’s last two years, they will have no problem making it to sectionals. The team was in the sectional finals two years ago and the Section Three Class C-2 semifinals last year, losing to Weedsport, 2-1, in 11 innings.
“It was really a shame someone had to lose,” Bliss said. “It was really well played by both teams. But it was especially a shame since it was us that lost.”
Practice started last week. Although it is too early for him to pick his captains, Bliss said he knows that junior shortstop Maggie Hall, senior pitcher Nicole Cring and senior second baseman Alannah Haggerty will lead his team.
The trio played baseball when they were younger and would often play for year-round or travel teams, but when they reached middle school and softball was the only option, they made the switch.
“I was really stubborn, but they forced me,” said Maggie Hall. Although she had a passion for baseball, she eventually saw the same sort of fun in softball.
Together, they rewrote the single-season record book at CCS last year. Cring became the season leader in wins and strikeouts. Haggerty set the all-time record for highest batting average. Hall was not only the season leader for hits, doubles, triples and home runs, but with two softball seasons left at Cooperstown, she is already the school’s leader in doubles, triples and home runs.
As all the players prepare for the season, with some figuring out their positions and where their personal strengths lie, Bliss said he is watching out for Hamilton, their league rival as of late.
Hamilton, which graduated only one key player, has won two straight Section Three Class D titles. Come tournament time, Bliss said he also wants to watch out for Sandy Creek and South Lewis.
“What it’s gonna take to get us over the top is bunting, especially when we get going in toward sectionals,” Bliss said.
This year the team will play in Center State Conference Division III. In addition to Hamilton, the opponents division opponents are Mount Markham, Morrisville-Eaton, Sauquoit Valley, Westmoreland and Waterville.
Cooperstown will start the season on April 3 at Clinton.