Special to The Ely Times

The White Pine High softball team moves to the 2A Northern League this season after a few years in the Southern League and with a new coach. Mike Romero moves from being an assistant coach for the past two years under Krystal Smith, who moved to the college ranks in Montana. Smith had a record with the Lady Bobcats since 2011 of 103-61. They were four-time state runner-up in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

White Pine has won the girls state softball title four times, 1993, 2002, 2004, 2005.

The Bobcats have eight players returning from the team that was 17-9 last year, and lost to Needles in the regional semifinals.  “All eight will be in the starting lineup,” he said.

White Pine also has a JV team, Romero said, for the first time in a few years because they had 20 players turnout for softball. “And we only have three seniors on the varsity squad,” he said.

There are four returning All Conference players: pitcher Isabelle Romero (a junior), pitcher Brittany Kingston (junior), left fielder Haylee Andre (senior) and catcher Brenna Williams (sophomore).

Romero said playing in the north this year with the likes of defending state champion Pershing County will be a big task. “We are expected tougher games throughout all of league play. Every team is going to be good, and they will be heavy competition. We are a young team, but we have a good foundation. We’ve set the bar at being in the regional tournament and fighting for a berth at state.”

The LadyCats began the season Thursday and continue through Saturday at the Needles tournament. “It’s a large tournament,” Romero said, “usually featuring many teams from Las Vegas, Arizona and California.”The first home game for the girls in Ely will be later this month against Incline.