There will some new faces and fresh arms in the pitcher’s circle this season.

A number of local teams graduated hurlers that have been staples in their lineups in recent years. That means new players are stepping into larger roles.

Mt. Abram is a prime example of that. The Roadrunners had an all-star pitcher in Molly McCafferty. She started since her freshman year, but now that she’s graduated, the responsibility falls to juniors Alix Howard and Taylor Jordan.

“It’s tough but both of those kids throw well,” said Mt. Abram coach Tom McCafferty. “Taylor’s got some control things to work on, but when she comes around, we’ll be pretty tough.”

Both Howard and Jordan throw with some velocity and could emerge into strong pitchers in the MVC for the Roadrunners.

“We’ve been throwing since middle school, but it’s a whole new ballgame” said Howard.

Howard and Jordan worked hard to prepare for the varsity level this season but in the first week, they’re already adjusting to a new game. Mt. Abram split their first two games but lost to Madison 12-0 and beat St. Dom’s 22-18. The pitching was solid but errors and walks didn’t help their cause.

“The bats I’m finding are what’s different,” said Howard. “I pitched JV last year, but it was totally different going from JV ball to varsity ball. I just need to remember that they’re not going to be afraid to hit.”

Howard says she adjusting to her new role and getting comfortable, which can only mean good things for the Roadrunners. Mt. Abram has a solid hitting club that could be playoff-bound if the pitching and defense is solid. The Roadrunners went 7-9 last year and lost in the Western C quarterfinals.

“There’s definitely pressure, but I feel more relaxed when I’m out on the mound than when I play any other position.”

St. Dom’s is in a similar situation but has even younger players stepping into a large role. The Saints used both Sam Ladd and Jo Cullenberg in the season-opening loss to Mt. Abram. After having experienced hurlers in Amanda Cullen and Hannah Sterling the last few seasons, the Saints are relying on two freshmen.

“They haven’t pitched at the high school level, but they did a heck of a job” said St. Dom’s coach Mike Murphy. “They got a little nervous, but they did a great job. They have nothing to be ashamed of. They have to come out and throw like that and let our defense take care of it because we have a good defensive team.”

While the Saints are inexperienced in the pitcher’s circle, there’s some season veterans around the infield around them, led by Mary Caron at short, Becky Trytek at third, Lexi Casey at second and Bethany Fox at first and Dayle Jordan behind the plate.

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