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Prep Softball: East Rowan outlook

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

East Rowan Mustangs softball

2016 record: 15-9, lost 5-4 to West Iredell in the 1st round of the 3A state playoffs. West Iredell went all the way to the regional championship series.

League record: 12-6, 5th in the 10-team South Piedmont Conference. The Mustangs beat three of the teams that finished ahead of them, including champion Hickory Ridge

Coach: Michael Waddell has been at the helm at East since the 1990s with mostly strong results. From 2008-11, with Division I players Chelsea White and Ericka Nesbitt, the Mustangs went 87-11 under Waddell and played in two Final Fours in Raleigh.

Strengths

Experience. There are a lot of familiar faces back, including four senior starters.

Power: Catawba-bound Coryn Soul and several other Mustangs can reach the fences. Soul is going to walk a lot so the people who hit behind her have to come through with key hits.

Players to watch:

• Soul, the senior shortstop, and senior third baseman Ashlyn Mills were first team all-county last year. They’ll provide a lot of pop in the middle of the lineup and both have good gloves.

• Senior pitcher Bree Medlin battles every time she goes to the circle. She also brings a solid stick to the top of the lineup. She’ll get some help in the circle from freshman Karley Teague.

• Sophomore catcher Mackenzie Sprinkle isn’t very big, but she can play. She was second team all-county as a freshman.

• Junior Caroline Johnson, the sister of Catawba pitcher, Connor, is an athlete. She swings the bat well and is smooth at second base. This should be her breakout season. She had four hits in an early win against Carson.

• Senior Courtney Wagner will handle first base. Sophomores Ashlyn Fritz, Maddie Trexler, Nicole Fleming and Lauren Coughenour lead the outfield crew.

Early season: East is off to a 2-1 start in the SPC, including a 10-0 home win against Carson in which the Mustangs looked good. East should contend in the balanced SPC, where the champion usually has three or four losses. As far as best team in the county, East should be in the mix for that title as well.

Next: Tuesday at Hickory Ridge.

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