|2022 LADY BUCCS SOFTBALL...
The Covington Lady Buccs will field a youthful squad again in 2022, but the majority of the returning players have plenty of varsity experience - leading to high expectations in their first year in the Three Rivers Conference.
COVINGTON - Dan Cain returns for his third season in his second tenure at Covington and he looks to build on last season's 17-12 record where he fielded a very young team.
Gone are four graduated seniors, Haylie Jackson, Bethany Weldy, Rai'shell Reed and Alli Garman.
Covington is still relatively young with just two seniors on the roster, Kierra Hinnegan and Parker Metz, but the majority of the roster has significant experience from a year ago.
Leading the way are juniors Erika Gostomsky, Mara Newhouse, Reagan Lemp, Nigella Reck and Meg Rogers, plus sophomores Karyanne Turner and Kamryn Barnes.
"We return seven starters and we will start a freshman at third, short and second base with a sophomore at first," said Covington coach Dan Cain.
The freshmen who will contribute in the infield are Taylor Kirker, Alexa Hitchcock and Maggie Anderson, while sophomore Kamryan Barnes holds the glove at first.
The outfield for Covington is extremely strong with sophomore Karyanne Turner and juniors Nigella Reck and Erika Gostomsky.
"Karyanne can fly and she has a strong arm," Cain said. "Nigella's versatility will be a big help. She will play outfield, some shortstop, pitch and possibly play some third base. She has a strong arm and can really track a ball."
Covington has three pitchers it can rely on in the circle, Meg Rogers, Erika Gostomsky and Nigella Reck.
"Meg will be one of the top pitchers in the league, plus she is our lead-off hitter," said Cain.
Mara Newhouse returns behind the plate with a dependable arm to keep runners in check.
Newhouse and Reck are also the meat of the battling order for Covington.
"Nigella and Mara combined to drive in 110 runs last year," Cain said. "They will be two of the best hitters in the league."
Covington takes part in the newly formed Three Rivers Conference, a league that should be extremely competitive from top to bottom.
"This is our first year in our new league," said Cain. "Miami East, Milton-Union, Riverside, along with ourselves should battle it out for the top spot. Bethel has a new coach and could slip in there as well."
In the new league, Covington will play each league opponent twice - once at home and the other game on the road.
"Playing a home and away format will be nice, but a challenge," explained Cain. "If we can stay healthy, we would do well in the league and make a nice run in the tournament."
So far, Cain is pleased with how his team has gelled together before playing its first game.
"We have a great team attitude and team chemistry," he said.
For a young team like Covington, team chemistry is the foundation for success.