There's plenty of hope and optimism for success on the diamond in 2012 for both the Newfane varsity baseball and softball teams.
Head coach Katy Stedman's Lady Panthers finished 5-9 in the Niagara-Orleans League, losing four seniors to graduation, Jen Mills, Liz Geise, Jaime Cogar and Emily Flagler.
This year's squad features the return of heavy hitter Jamie Kerwin, a junior center fielder who will bat clean-up in the Blue Zone.
Newfane's co-captains this season are two-thirds of the Shaw triplets, juniors Katie and Shannon Shaw.
“They're both great utility players. I can play them anywhere,” Stedman said.
“Katie's our starting pitcher. She stepped right up into that role. Shannon played third base last year but she can catch and pitch. (Senior) Sara Clark will also see pitching duty.
Rounding out the Lady Panthers roster are seniors Ashley Brick and Brianne Strong, juniors Jordan Beutel and Sam Schermerhorn, sophomores Morgan Bedford and Jerica Dietrich, freshman Gabby Sinnott and eighth grader Katie Kneeland.
The Lady Panthers have opened their season with two straight league losses. They return to N-O action with a game at 4:45 p.m. Monday at Barker.
Meanwhile, head coach Jeff Kneeland's baseball Panthers will have to rebound in a big way, losing seven seniors to graduation.
Among those who helped claim the league title last season (12-2) are the N-O First Team all-star battery of Rohn Pierce and Steve Kneeland, as well as all-leaguers Steve Gertz and Dan Hambruch.
Returning is four-year starter Scott Kneeland and fellow returning starting seniors Justin Ferrington and Justin Thering, as well as junior outfielder/catcher Brian Ratajczak and first baseman Mitch Valery.
Up and coming talent includes sophomores Josh Kneeland and junior Reid Weber, both pitchers.
“We went down to Myrtle Beach and played four games against some big schools,” coach Kneeland said.
“I've got a very nice group of young men. They're hard working, good learners. It's just tough shoes to fill when you lose so many seniors.”
Rounding out the Newfane varsity baseball roster are sophomores Brian Gertz, Steve Kipfer and Paul Tilyou.
Newfane's baseball Panthers return to N-O action with a game at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday at CSAT.
Newfane Softball Roster
Ashley Brick 12
Sara Clark 12
Brianne Strong 12
Jordan Beutel 11
Jamie Kerwin 11
Sam Schermerhorn 11
Katie Shaw 11
Shannon Shaw 11
Morgan Bedford 10
Jerica Dietrich 10
Gabby Sinnott 9
Katie Kneeland 8
Newfane Baseball Roster
Justin Ferrington 12
Scott Kneeland 12
Justin Thering 12
Brian Ratajczak 11
Mitch Valery 11
Reid Weber 11
Brian Gertz 10
Josh Gmerek 10
Josh Kneeland 10
Steve Kipfer 10
Paul Tilyou 10