FAIRFIELD TWP. — Cincinnati Christian School softball coach Gary Rice didn’t have to do too much restocking for the 2019 season.
Only one senior graduated from the 2018 squad that went 15-5 and reached the Division IV district finals before losing to Bradford 2-1 in eight innings.
“We’ve added a couple of talented freshmen, so we have basically the same team from last year,” said Rice, who begins his first season of his second tenure at the CCS softball helm.
Rice, who joins forces with assistant coach Phil Bush, coached the varsity squad from 2001 to 2006.
“We’re already working on areas of our game that would allow us to go further in district play this year,” Rice said.
Rice expects to see another season of stellar performances from senior shortstop Jenna Monk, sophomore pitcher Briahna Bush and junior catcher Ashley Veldkamp.
The Cougars captured the Miami Valley Conference Scarlet Division title with an 11-2 record, spearheaded by Monk — who was the conference’s Athlete of the Year.
Monk, a University of South Florida signee, smacked 13 home runs, collected 39 RBIs and batted .565 at the plate. Rice said Monk will convert from center field to shortstop.
Bush hit .576 at the plate last year, and she struck out 216 batters in 103 innings pitched and had a .612 ERA.
Other returning starters include senior Merrick Heid (third base); juniors Tori Dusing (right field) and Jessica Fornshell (left field); and sophomores Kaitlyn Fritz (outfield), Miranda Heid (first base) and Karli Head (second base).
Rounding out the roster is freshman Elizabeth Bowling, sophomore outfielder Faith Dulemba, sophomore outfielder Crystal Wilson and freshman Kirsten Clark.
Cincinnati Christian opens the season at Wilmington on Saturday, March 23 at 11 a.m.