As Brien McMahon High softball coach Paul Jacoby puts the pieces together for the upcoming season, he sees a lot of young faces and is optimistic toward the future.
The inevitable growing pains will affect the newcomers early on but show promise in the long run while the team builds on a 2-17 season.
"It's going to be an uphill battle," Jacoby said. "We're a year away."
The Senators will open the season returning eight players while welcoming four girls, two of which will be starters.
Among the returning players is senior captain Laura Knox, who will play wherever she is needed in order to help her young team.
"She is a true leader," Jacoby said. "She has played multiple positions for us so I can put here anywhere on the field. She is willing to do anything for us. She's a battler."
Knox has seen time in the circle during scrimmages and practice, but coach sees her being most successful at first base.
Stamatis is battling injuries but is regaining strength in her injured elbow.
"She's been pitching a little bit now," Jacoby said. "I think she will be OK."
Junior Christina Chironna will also play a key role in the leadership position as she returns to the outfield.
The real story will be the freshmen and how they hold up in the batter's box. The two freshmen who will see time are Samantha Bardos and Natalie Leslie.
Bardos will split time at the shortstop position and in the outfield while Leslie will play third base.
When asked about his team's youth, Jacoby will turn to fundamentals and defense to curb the inexperience.
"It definitely isn't going to help us this year," Jacoby said. "This is one heck of a conference. Our pitching isn't up to most of the rest of the conference. We are going to play real good defense to be in most of these games."
The Senators will also need to play defense to make up for their lack of offense.Â
"We have to fix our offense." Jacoby said. "We have to be more aggressive at the plate. We are too laid back, and we need to start going after pitches."
The lack of firepower comes from the inexperience behind the plate. For the newcomers, it may be difficult at first adjusting to varsity pitching.
"These girls aren't used to these (older) pitchers. You let these pitchers get ahead of you, you have no battles and you're up the creek."
Looking down the road, the Senators have circled their matchup against Norwalk High. The Bears defeated the Senators in last year's game.
Norwalk seems to be improving on last season's success. The city rivals were one win shy of the state tournament. The Bears' last FCIAC came in 2003 and were runners-up in 2005.
As the race for the league crown appears to be wide-open, Westhill looks to defend its two-consecutive championships.