While the Berlin Redcoats softball team lost its pitcher, catcher and a key outfielder, the team returns everyone else and hopes to be in the mix for a conference title.
Yale-bound Brittany Labbadia, who has controlled the game at shortstop since she was a freshman, will lead Berlin. She hit .460 last year and was named All-State as a sophomore and junior. She is one of two captains along with senior second basemen Sarah Brochu.
Also back are Brochu, who hit .283 last season, outfielder Paige Owens, who is bound for University of Bridgeport and who hit .375 last season, outfielder Kelly Walsh, a .356 hitter last season.
Sophomore Makayla Harris, who played first base last year, takes over on the mound for the Redcoats and has looked impressive in the circle so far this pre-season. She will also be one of the top hitters for Berlin, hitting .295 as a freshmen last year.
Erin McKinnon and Katherine Burek also return for the Redcoats.
The top newcomers for Berlin will be Mackenzie Freeland, a senior, back from injuries, sophomore catcher Amanda Patterson and freshman pitcher Kaitlyn Guild.
"We have seven returning starters including entire infield," Berlin coach Jason Pires said. Pires has coached eight years and has a 98-73 career record. "We have good speed, should be able to put the ball in play at the plate and should be very good on defense. We lost some very valuable players from last year's team but we have capable players to replace them.
"While we have the entire infield back, we are going to have a new pitcher and catcher, which is never easy. We also don't have a lot of power on offense. We are going to have to put the ball in play and run the bases well.
"I expect us to finish well over .500 and contend for the CCC South Division this season. Bristol Eastern, Bristol Central and Maloney should all be good in the division. I look forward to an exciting and successful season."