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MaxPreps 2017 Vermont preseason softball Fab 5, presented by the Army National Guard
1. Essex (Essex Junction)
The Hornets won their seventh state title last season - their first since 2012 - by shutting down the high-powered Mount Anthony offense in the VPA Division I final. Standout pitcher Allie Rutz has graduated so Essex will look to players such as juniors Emily Harvey
and Sarah Knickerbocker
, and senior infielder Kylie Svarczkopf
to lead the way in 2017.
See the MaxPreps Vermont softball computer rankings
2. Mount Anthony Union (Bennington)
Mount Anthony ran its string of VPA Division I final appearances to three last June, but dropped the tournament championship game to Essex. Even with the loss, the Patriots are 55-5 over the past three seasons. Junior pitcher Taylor Dicranian
, who came up big as a sophomore in 2016, and sophomore infielder Catherine (Cat) Worthington
look to keep the string of successes alive.See MaxPreps Vermont softball stat leaderboards
, third baseman Darcy Staats
and shortstop Lily Smith
return for coach Polly Rheaume, who was named Coach of the Year after guiding Middlebury to the Division I Final Four in 2016. Buxton compiled a 1.15 ERA and fanned 171 in 110 innings a year ago. Staats batted .355 while Smith had an on-base percentage of .467.
See the MaxPreps national softball galleries
4. Colchester2016 record:
Junior pitcher/infielders Alli Sheets
and Riley Magoon
are back to help Colchester forget the end of last season, when a walk-off, eighth-inning home run by Makenna Thorne of Essex derailed its otherwise stellar season in the VPA Division I semifinals.
See the MaxPreps Vermont softball playoff brackets
5. Brattleboro2016 record:
Coach Kelly Markol loses just two seniors - Bridget Duff and Hannah Wilson - from a 2016 team that reached the VPA Division I quarterfinals. The Colonels were eliminated by Middlebury in the round of eight, but before that freshman shortstop Hailey Derosia
had come through with a six-RBI game in the first round. Lauren Mckenney
is another up-and-coming slugger, while senior outfielder Devin Millerick
, senior first baseman Emily Waite
and junior catcher Jamie Mahoney
are back, too.