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Starting pitcher and catcher return for Central Aroostook girls

MARS HILL, Maine — Kevin Jackins takes over for Julie Conrad as the coach of the Central Aroostook softball team and inherits some solid talent as the squad attempts to compete for a playoff spot in the Class D North division.

Jackins has the starting pitcher and catcher back from last year’s team, along with a few other veterans.

Senior Caitlyn Harris returns on the mound and sophomore Breann Bradbury is back behind the plate for the Panthers, who went 7-7 during the regular season a year ago before losing to Ashland in the preliminary round of the playoffs.

Harris will be the No. 1 pitcher but also is capable of playing any position on the field. Freshman Maci Beals, who started at third base as an eighth-grader, and classmate Libby Grass are other quality pitching prospects. Jackins said Beals is another player who has the ability to play multiple positions.

“Our pitching is strong and that should help us to be solid defensively,” Jackins said.

Other returnees for Central Aroostook are Isabelle Wright, Annika Nicholas, Sydney Garrison, Macie Coffin, Madison Coffin, Oreo Cutting and Mersaydez Johnston.

Sara Stitham, Lauren Shulbelka, Mikayla Blanchard and Emma Patterson round out the Panthers’ roster as first-year players. Jordan DeLong is the team’s manager.

“Many of the starting positions are yet to be determined,” Jackins said. “We will have a much better idea as to where each girl can help the team once we are able to get outside for practice. All of the girls are working hard to help the team achieve success.”

Jackins is excited about the prospect of getting out on the field for practices over the next couple weeks, but said the practices in the gym have gone well so far.

“We have been working hard on developing arm strength,” Jackins said. “We also have some gaps to fill on defense so we have been doing a lot of fielding drills as well as a lot of hitting.”

Central Aroostook opens on the road against a new opponent, Woodland. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, April 21, beginning at 1 p.m.

Jackins said the Panthers will be aggressive on the base paths and “we are hoping to be a strong offensive team.”

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