Though only a scattering of games have been played in the 2014 girls softball season, it already appears that several area teams are capable of putting together strong years.
Pendleton Heights — No. 4 in Class 4A — is the lone area team ranked in the top 10 in the preseason polls. But Madison-Grant, Elwood and Frankton each received votes in 2A.
Many of the teams will learn some things this coming week when the Madison County Tournament is held Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Here is a look at each of the teams in capsule form:
Coach: Stephanie Baledge
2013 record: 15-11
Losses from 2013: Natalee Beeman, Jaime Dirks, Carlee Wihebrink, Ashley Beeson, Shelby Farmer, Jordan Goodman, Jade Humes
Returning varsity: Mariah Cook, Taylor Jennings, Hailee Beeson, Hannah Murphy, Stacie Farmer, Maggie Phelps, Makayla Alberts.
Promising newcomers: Taylor Jones, Kate Davis
Coach's outlook: "Being that it is my first year, I can't say for sure what we will do this season. I believe that our strongest area will be our offensive game. We do have a couple of standout players that will lead the team to, hopefully, a winning season. We just need to work on communication and relying on each other to win games."
County Tourney foe: Frankton at Frankton, 5 p.m. Tuesday
Coach: Doug Holder
2013 record: 10-15
Losses from 2013: Mariah Miller, Shelby Schmitt, Sara Clapp
Returning varsity: Donjanae Chamberlain, Kaylie Qualls, Haley Helton, Avery Raper, Kaira Jackson, Taryn Harvey, Sydney Schmitt, Alex Poor, Natania Van Sickle
Promising newcomers: Alexis Edwards, Michelle Smith, Brie Broadus, Azariah Fuller, Dyamond Maxwell
Coach's outlook: "This looks to be a very exciting season. We have more overall team speed, a balance of smallball and longball strengths and both returning pitchers from the last two seasons. With five of our top six hitters returning, our offense should be solid, in hopes of improving last season's won-lost record."