COAL CITY — Stephanie Harmon led the Coal City varsity softball team to 19 wins and a regional semifinal appearance in her first season as head coach in 2012.
Getting one more win — and two steps further in the postseason — are the primary goals for the Lady Coalers, who are scheduled to begin Harmon's second season Friday.
Catcher Gabby Bonic, who is one of five seniors on the 16-player roster, says a 20-win season and a regional championship are achievable for the current Lady Coalers.
"Yes, if we stay together and play as a team," Bonic said before practice this week. "The team is looking real good. We have a lot of young talent and I think that will translate into a winning season."
Though the weather has relegated the Lady Coalers to practicing indoors, Harmon says she feels more comfortable in her role in her second year than she did in her first.
"It's gone a lot easier," Harmon said. "I don't wanna say that I've done this a long time now or anything, but I have a better feel for how I want to run the team."
The roster is a mix of experience and youth. Coal City's seven returning starters — three of which are sophomores — will be joined on the varsity by three freshmen. There is one common trait shared by many of the players, however.
"We have some very fast girls, which should give us a lot of speed," Harmon said.
Bonic and fellow senior Madison Giordano, an outfielder, are two players who have solidified starting spots already in practice. Many of the other positions remain up for grabs. Harmon says one of the most heated positional battles is at shortstop between sophomore Mady Bunton and freshman Makenna Emerson.
"A lot is undecided. ... Figuring out who will play where exactly is kind of our biggest obstacle at the moment," Harmon said. "Really, what it comes down to is that whoever is hitting at the time is going to play."
Pitcher is another position where there is some competition. Harmon says that sophomore Emily Aichele is the staff's No. 1, but sophomore Taylor Rice and freshman Melissa Moore are also expected to get some innings.
Bonic says that using multiple pitchers could benefit the Lady Coalers.
"It's kind of hard with one girl because it gets to be the same thing all the time," Bonic said. "I think it's an advantage having more than one because there is something other than that one girl for the other batters to worry about."
"The chemistry between Emily and I is really good."
Giordano and fellow seniors Hannah Boresi and Morgan Carrigan, who are both infielders, are the only remaining holdovers from Coal City's 2010 state championship team.
"I have a lot more of a leadership role now," Giordano said. "We have a lot of skill ... We should be a pretty solid team."