Cooperstown is preparing for another good softball season.
“Our pitching and middle infield are strong,” said coach Dave Bliss, who is entering his 13th season at Cooperstown.
Bliss also said he’s confident that, just like the team’s last two years, Cooperstown will have no problem making it to the Section Three Class C Tournament. Cooperstown reached the sectional title game two seasons ago and made it to the C-2 semifinals last spring, when its season ended with a 2-1 loss to Weedsport 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.”
Although it’s too early to pick his captains — practice started last week — Bliss said he knows junior shortstop Maggie Hall, senior pitcher Nicole Cring and senior second baseman Alannah Haggerty will lead Cooperstown.
The trio played baseball when they were younger and often competed for travel teams, but softball became their only option once they reached middle school.
“I was really stubborn, but they forced me,” said Hall, who joined Cring and Haggerty in helping Cooperstown to the Class C state tournament in girls basketball this past winter.
Together, they rewrote the single-season record book at Cooperstown last season.
Cring became the single-season leader in wins and strikeouts. Haggerty set the all-time record for highest batting average. Hall set season records for hits, doubles, triples and home runs - and she’s already the all-time program leader in those categories.
Bliss said he’s keeping an eye on Hamilton, which graduated one key player and has won two straight Section Three Class D titles. Come tournament time, Bliss said, Cooperstown also will be watching out for Sandy Creek and South Lewis.
“What it’s gonna take to get us over the top is bunting,” he said, “especially when we get going in toward sectionals.”
Cooperstown will play in Division III of the Center State Conference Division III this season. Other D-III members are Hamilton, Morrisville-Eaton, Mount Markham, Sauquoit Valley, Waterville and Westmoreland.
Cooperstown starts the season April 3 at Clinton.