Haverhill Hillies Softball '08

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2007 record: 11-10, lost in Division 1 North first round

Returning starters (4): Alicia Briggs, Jr., P; Lisa Betances, Jr., SS; Katelyn Demers, Jr., CF; Colleen Whalen, Sr., C

Returning lettermen: Paige Johnson, Sr., 1B/OF; Meaghan Montibello, Sr., 2B; Alexandria Stasio, Jr., 1B; Carly Sullivan, Jr., 3B  

Promising newcomers: Elizabeth Strong, Jr., OF; Jessica Johnson, Frosh., 2B/3B; Meredith Ross, Frosh., OF; Katie Campbell, Jr., INF; Megan Leo, Soph., INF

Candidates in all grades: 48

Captains: TBA

Returning leaders: Betances .377, .423 on-base percentage, 22 RBIs; Alicia Briggs 1.25 ERA, 171 Ks, 31 BB in 146 innings

Returning honorees: Lisa Betances All-MVC; Alicia Briggs Eagle-Tribune All-Star

Assistants: Mike Woelfel; Mike Johnson, JV; Kelly Mansour, Frosh.

Opener: Hosts Newburyport April 9

Odds and ends: The Hillies made another stride forward last year, making the Division 1 tournament after finishing 9-11 the year before and winning just seven games combined in the two previous seasons. Last year was the Hillies' second time in the postseason in 11 years and the first winning season since 1996 (14-7). ... In what will be a key switch, Colleen Whalen is moving from the outfield to catcher. ... Junior Alicia Briggs has pitched every inning of every game for two years. If needed, freshman Jessica Johnson could take the mound. ... Junior letterman Carly Sullivan looks vastly improved. ... Junior Katie Campbell is a transfer from Whittier Tech. ... For the first time in Bob Walsh's coaching career, in 25 years of boys basketball and softball, the Hillies will only play 18 games instead of 20.

Coach Bob Walsh (5th year, 27-42): "I think we have a pretty good chance of making the tournament again. The upper (Merrimack Valley Conference) division looks loaded, but we'll make it if we can take care of business in our (lower) division. We still have the pitching with (Alicia) Briggs and I'm hoping we can be a good defensive team again. We may need to hit better than we did last year (.239)."

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