The Niagara Falls softball team is using its field as a classroom this spring. And the Wolverines expect to see the results as the temperatures continue to rise.

“We’re trying a lot of new concepts this year,” veteran NFHS coach Beth Bullock said recently. “And the best thing about this group is their eagerness to try the things we are suggesting. Each practice is like a clinic for us, so every single day we should definitely be able to see progression. So far, I really like what I see.”

Bullock and her staff have been spending a great deal of their time on hitting drills as the Falls has struggled to produce runs the past few seasons.

“A lot of our practices have focused on the mechanics of your swing,” junior Holly Conte said. “We’ve done a lot more live pitching too, which I think is going to help our chances in the games.”

Conte certainly hopes so as the right-hander is the Wolverines’ ace again this spring. She was a first team all-Gazette choice last year. Senior Alyssa Bradley will serve as NFHS’ second hurler. The duo will be throwing to senior Nikki Kraft, a three-year starter at catcher.

The Falls’ infield will be anchored by senior shortstop Megan Golden. First base will be either Gemma Butry or Jamie Olander with second being manned by Katrina Ciccarelli or Angela Eugeni and third going to Bradley or Sara Tweed, according to Bullock.

Junior Dom Mantell returns for her third year in center with competition in right and left. Bullock said Kammi Moyer or Brittney Winker will play left and either Jocelyn Grace or Juliana Maietta will play right. Kaylyne Gallagher will also play in the outfield.

“This team has the ability to be more mature and comfortable than any other team in the past,” Kraft said. “If we continue to work at 110 percent — coach and the captains are doing a good job with that — we are confident we can play with anybody.”

“We have a very good team and we work hard,” Golden added. “And isn’t it the best team that comes out on top, not necessarily the best players.”

Contact reporter Nate Beutel at 282-2311, ext. 2262.


• COACH: Beth Bullock

• KEY RETURNEES: Holly Conte (Junior, P), Megan Golden (Senior, SS), Nikki Kraft (Senior, C), Dom Mantell (Junior, CF)

• QUESTION: Can the Falls manufacture enough runs to compete with the top-tier teams?

• PROJECTION: Will challenge for one of the top three spots in the Niagara Frontier League.

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