By Garrett Estrada

Ely Times Staff Writer

Last season, the White Pine High softball team came within one run of a state championship. With the return of most of that successful team this year, coach Krystal Smith expects nothing less than a second chance for the title.

“Our goal is to get back to state,” Smith said. “I think we have the talent and the work ethic to get back there, we are just going to have to have some kids step up in a few big spots.”

The Ladycats will get their cleats dirty for the first time this weekend in Boulder City in preseason games against Boulder City, Foothill and Coronado.

“We start by going to a scrimmage on Saturday so we will see,” Smith said. “It will be our first time out on the dirt so we are just looking for the girls to work hard together as a team.”

Though the team lost their leading hitter from last year, Smith said she thinks she has a “strong group coming back” this year. Alli Huntington will move from the shortstop position to be starting pitcher and Smith is excited watching her throw in practice.

“We are excited to see how she is as a pitcher against some of the upper level teams we will see,” Smith said.

The team will also see position players from the state runner-up team return at all four points on the diamond and the outfield.

Huntington’s absence at the shortstop position is one of the few places on the field that doesn’t have experience coming back.

“We are still looking to fill the shortstop position which is obviously a vital part to our defense but besides that we are pretty strong. Infield and out,” Smith said.

The Ladycats first game will be on March 22 at North Tahoe.