2024 softball preview: Players to watch this season

Apr. 15—Led the Saints last year with a batting average above .500. She was named first-team All-Western Maine Conference, her second straight all-conference honor. She is St. Dom's starting catcher but is able, and willing, to play anywhere on the field.

A force in the Red Eddies' lineup for a few seasons, Avila is their top returning hitter after batting .310 last spring. She also had a team-best .552 slugging percentage, and her 14 runs were the second most on the team.

One top outfielders in the Mountain Valley Conference, Bennett excels in center field, where she tracks down most of the balls hit to her vicinity. She batted .350 last year. She is strong bunter and is even more dangerous on the base paths.

A tone-setter and a strong all-around player for the Phoenix. She batted .316 in 2023 and was stellar at shortstop, finishing with an 89% fielding percentage.

A standout in the circle and at the plate. She went 12-3 with a 1.32 ERA as a sophomore, while also batting .454 with 29 RBIs and 12 extra-base hits.

Hits for power and average. Last year Beblois recorded a .500 batting average and .854 slugging percentage. Ten of her 24 hits were for extra bases: six doubles, one triple and three home runs.

Should again be a major contributor in a stacked lineup. Of the Hornets' returning players, Dutil drove in the most runs (14) last spring and her 16 hits tie for second.

Has been a starter since her freshman season. She excels behind the plate through defense, blocking and throwing, and is a strong game manager. She also will pitch and play other key positions when needed. She also has batted .469 during her career and rarely strikes out.

The energetic Hambrick started as a freshman in 2023 and led the Cougars with two home runs and 17 runs scored while batting leadoff. She made many impressive catches in left field last spring, but is a multi-position player who might have the opportunity to shine in other spots on the field.

The Red Eddies' center fielder drove in a team-high 14 runs and tallied a team-best 20 hits last season. Kelsea only struck out twice and scored 12 runs.

Will again be key, both as a pitcher and a hitter, to the Greyhounds look to take the next step in their rebuilding process. Last spring Kottman batted .487.

A strong hitter who can hit for average and power, and able to play any position in the field. She was voted first-team Western Maine Conference and has committed to play softball at Franklin Pierce University.

McElhaney is an intelligent catcher who reads the game well and limits opponents' base running. She had a 1.000 fielding percentage and made no throwing errors last season. She shines at the plate, hitting .372 with five doubles and three triples while only striking out three times. She also stole 18 bases.

The Vikings' ace pitcher two years ago, she split time in the circle and in the infield last year, when she was voted All-KVAC First Team helped Oxford Hills reach the Class A final. Her primary role this spring will be anchoring the infield and producing on offense. She scored a team-high 33 runs last season and ranked third in RBIs (20) while batting .364.

Already a lot of big-game pitching experience. As a freshman last spring, Morse was the ace for the A North champion and Class A runner-up. She recorded a 0.55 ERA with more than 100 strikeouts. She also was one of the Vikings' best hitters, belting a team-best four home runs, ranking second with 22 RBIs and finishing with a .368 batting average.

A varsity contributor since her freshman season, O'Leary batted .460 last season and was a Western Maine Conference First Team selection. She also will pitch when needed for the Knights.

One of the top pitchers in the Western Maine Conference the past few seasons who last year was voted first-team all-conference after going 13-3. She also was productive at the plate, batting .302.

The left-hander spent most of her sophomore season at first base due to the presence of MVC Player of the Year Brooklyn Federico, but this year she'll be the Mustangs' ace. She did pitch in 2023, going 4-0 and striking out 40 batters while walking only five. She batted .569 while drawing a team-high 17 walks and only striking out twice in 68 plate appearances.

Cerebral player, particularly behind the plate, who is entering her fourth season as a varsity player. She led the Blue Devils last year with a .510 batting average and .667 slugging percentage, while recording 26 hits, 16 RBIs and only striking out three times.

Whether playing catcher or center field, the 2023 first-team MVC selection will be a standout for the first-year Maranacook/Winthrop co-op. Rice is adept at slapping, bunting and hitting, and she led the team in hitting in its first scrimmage of the preseason against Lewiston.

Stinchfield will again be the Roadrunners' ace this season. The year-round softball player also is one of Mt. Abram's top hitters, and she will play a major role in the team's success this season.

In one season of high school softball, Waite has already proven to be an all-rounded standout. She spent most of last year playing third base and didn't commit error. She also hit three home runs and batted .375.

Skilled enough to play anywhere on the field, but this year is expected to play a larger role in the circle. She practices her pitching on a weekly basis all year long. She batted .420 as a freshman in 2023.

2024 softball preview capsules

High school roundup: Leavitt lights up Gardiner in baseball opener