WILLIAMSTOWN -- The loss of an All-Transcript MVP would likely deal a severe blow to most teams. Often that shot is too much to overcome the next year.
The Mount Greylock softball team looks poised to win in spite of that.
Caitie Benoit and her extremely potent bat are gone, but most of the team that suffered an early exit from the Western Massachusetts tournament returns.
"I have a pretty good returning class from last year, a lot of kids with some real good varsity experience," coach June Blake said. "I'm just looking for them to have the same solid year they had last year, starting with Heather Tomkowicz on the mound."
Tomkowicz was dominant in the pitching circle as a sophomore and figures to be even better as a junior. There will be a different face behind the plate now that Benoit is gone, but it's not a new one.
Junior Kendall Frye played right field last season but was also the backup catcher. She saw plenty of Tomkowicz and the other pitchers during practice.
"I felt like she got some great experience in practice and got to learn a lot from Caitie," Blake said. "She'll be ready to go this season behind the plate. She blocks everything."
That will give Tomkowicz confidence to miss with her pitches. The team on the infield should give her confidence to not be perfect either.
The Mounties return their starting shortstop, second and first basemen.
Junior Meredith Dezieck is back commanding the infield at short with Anna Penna -- the lone senior -- on the other side of the bag.
"It's huge to have that senior leadership in the middle of your infield," Blake said. "I know Meredith's a junior, but she really stepped up last year, and she's also going to be our middle infield leader. Her and Anna will really compliment each other in the infield."
The first baseman has plenty of experience, too, despite being just a sophomore. Miranda Voller is back for her third season at first base.
That experience will help bring whoever winds up at third base up to speed. It's a battle between Martel Shea and Celeste Gravel.
"They're two solid players that can definitely fill that position," Blake said.
While the infield is just about squared away, the outfield is a different story.
"The outfield spots are all up for grabs," Blake said.
That's because two of last year's outfielders have graduated, while Frye is behind the plate.
Power hitting is the other aspect the Mounties are trying to replace.
"We graduated, I think, all of our power hitters for the most part," Blake said. "We have to replace that a little bit.
"It would have been nice to have a few more seniors on the team, to have a little more come back into the program. But I think we're pretty good where we are and we have that solid junior class that are going to play like a bunch of seniors."