Head coach: Joe Cawley (9th season). Assistant coach: Dan Cawley.
Last year: Wheeler finished 4-16, 0-12 in ECC Division III. The Lions did not qualify for the postseason.
Returning to varsity:
Seniors: Julia Ahern (CF-P, captain), Savannah Galluci (3B, captain), KayLyn Main (RF), Steph Mullen (2B-OF). Juniors: Sam Caster (OF-C), Sophia Lamphere (OF). Sophomores: Marissa Bergel (2B), Molly Butremovic (1B), Julie Rudd (SS).
New to varsity:
Sophomore: Juliona Martens (OF). Freshmen: Kaycee Fonneman (OF), Madelyn Gauthier (OF), Addie Hauptmann (P), Maddie Perkins (C).
Outlook: Wheeler looks to improve upon last year’s finish, and just like every other sport at the school, ECC realignment will help with that goal.
The league will now be divided into four divisions and the Lions are in D-IV.
“We can be a little more comparable with Griswold and Lyman out of there,” coach Joe Cawley said.
The Lions will have a freshman battery with Hauptmann in the circle and Perkins behind the plate. Perkins has travel-ball experience. Hauptmann was an ECC All-Star goalie for the soccer team.
Butremovic will play first, Bergel second, Rudd shortstop and Galluci at third.
Main will start in right field, and Ahern in center. Caster will also likely see time in the outfield, but others could also play. Ahern is the top returning hitter on the team at .267.
Wheeler hit .189 as a team last season, but Cawley expects that to improve.
“We are going to hit the ball, I know that,” Cawley said. “The key is always going to be throwing strikes and not giving teams extra outs.”
Coach’s take: “We always start with trying to win the division and earning enough wins for the state tournament where anything can happen.”
— Keith Kimberlin