GNADENHUTTEN -- First-year head coach Aaron Kochman will lead the Indian Valley High Lady Brave softball program this spring.
If the Lady Braves are to see improvement over last season's 9-11, the senior class will need to show the way.
Only two players were lost to graduation from last year's team, but four seniors return to the fold this year -- Rikki Ohler, Vanessa Zeigler, Kayleigh Moore and Megan MvMahon.
Ohler, Zeigler and Moore are two-year letterwinners and Ohler sported a lusty .365 batting average last year.
Only two juniors are on the varsity -- Maggie Kenndey and Elizabeth Smith. Kenndey is the more experienced of the two with a pair of varsity letters.
A half dozen sophomores currently dot the Lady Brave roster, including returning letterwinners Katie Shamel, Kelsey Kochman and Alexandre Smart.
Shamel paced the 2011 team with a .450 batting average.
The other sophomores on the team are Amanda Jones and Harlie Crouse.
Five freshmen round out the current varsity roster -- Jayme Hykes, Balli Fox, Olivia Shaw, Brea Rennard and Stefanie Risher.
Coach Kochman is looking for immediate contributions from the youngsters, especially Fox and Hykes.
Kelsey Kochman returns as the only pitcher with varsity experience. Shaw and Jones will probably share innings with Kochman until the "ace" label can be applied to one of the hurlers.
"I think we can be a decent hitting team," Coach Kochman stated. "I think our batting order will be capable of generating a lot of offense."
Currently, the Lady Braves jayvee roster includes sophomores Bailey Stull, Larissa Barton, Madison Kenney and Katelyn Regula; and freshmen Amber Ruscin, Emily McMahon, Kaylee Stephen and Halie Elvin.
The 2012 Lady Brave schedule includes non-league encounters with Claymont, Ridgewood, Newcomerstown, River View, Dover and Coshocton.
Kochman pointed to Manchester as the team to beat for the PAC-7 title.
Assisting Kochman this spring will be Harold Shade and Megan Holmes.