Katahdin Cougars have new coach, new outlook

STACYVILLE, Maine — The Katahdin softball squad will have a new head coach guiding the team this spring as Justin Stevens takes over for Kelly Birmingham.

Entering his first year coaching varsity sports, Stevens has a couple of veterans on his squad this spring who he can lean on early to provide key leadership on the diamond.

“We have a fairly young team with only two seniors returning but we have a good group of girls with a lot of talent coming up,” he said.

The Cougars include seniors Hannah Drew (first base) and Leanne Fitzpatrick (centerfield); juniors Lindsay Drew (shortstop), Erin Lake (third base), Josie Brownlee (outfield), Sierra Jamieson (outfield), and Hannah Kyllonen (outfield); sophomores Lily Cullen (pitching), Shelby Lewis (outfield), Jordyn Gardner (outfield) and Lexi Glidden (outfield); and freshmen Emma McNally (second base), Staci-Lea Anderson (infield) and Danielle Libby (catching).

The Cougars finished 4-10 last season and did not make the playoffs. Qualifying for the postseason is one of coach Stevens goals this spring.

“I think our infield is fairly strong, as a lot of them are returning from last year and our pitching is coming along well also,” he said. “I hope to improve on our hitting as the season wears on.”

Among the many challenges for a first year coach will be getting familiar with the opponents his team will face.

“This year we are playing more of the northern division,” Stevens said. “Our field is still snow covered, however melting fairly quickly.  All our practices have been inside which sets us back a little but they all are doing well with it.”

The Cougars are tentatively scheduled to start the season Tuesday, April 24, hosting Ashland.

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