The Bulldogs went 9-13 overall and 7-9 in Division I. The 7-9 league mark earned Westerly the 10th seed in the playoffs where the Bulldogs won an elimination game before dropping two straight in the double-elimination format.
Westerly returns its starting pitcher in Spargo and five players who had at least 55 at-bats. Several returning starters may play in different positions and Luppe is confident Westerly has the talent once he finds out where all the pieces fit best.
Spargo threw 117-2/3 innings a year ago and was the pitcher of record (9-12) in all but one game. She struck out 83 and finished and a seven-inning ERA of 3.51. She batted .317 and was a Division I honorable mention pick.
One big loss for the Bulldogs is Ledbetter who could potentially miss the entire season with an injury, according to Luppe. Ledbetter played catcher and shortstop last season. Valentini and Federico are the prime candidates at catcher while Sainsbury, Malvinni and Riley may play shortstop.
Luppe says he has some players capable of doing some damage with the bat. Sainsbury hit .364 a year ago and Valentini batted .333 as a freshman with six doubles, five triples and a team-high 18 RBIs on her way to third team All-League honors. Malvinni hit .304 with seven doubles and three triples.
Westerly plays in Division I in the second year of the current league alignment.
“This is the most unusual preseason I’ve ever had as a coach. The weather has made it difficult and we won’t have any preseason scrimmages before we start the season.
“We’re in such a strong division. I do like this team but I do need a couple of people to step up and if they do I think we can be pretty strong.”