Newark softball will start games a little late this season.
The school band is taking a trip to New Orleans, which takes away five girls from the softball team.
The Norsemen's overall numbers, though, are sweet music to Newark coach Mike Crackel.
Returning all-conference infielder Alyssa Schofield leads a team 17-deep coming off a 20-10 regional championship. Newark opens its season March 30 against Serena.
"Really happy with 17 girls," Crackel said. "For a school of 170 that's a lot of girls out for softball."
Schofield hit nearly .450 last year as a sophomore. She has good gap power and hits lots of doubles, will hit leadoff and likely slide over from second base to shortstop.
"She's comfortable hitting leadoff," Crackel said. "I'm going to leave her where she's comfortable. She's a good all-around player."
Crackel expects his team to be strong defensively, and hopes the hitting comes along. The Norsemen cracked over 20 home runs last year.
"I don't expect to do that again," Crackel said. "We'll have to do more bunting and small ball."
Senior Jasmine Mitchell is back after playing freshman and sophomore year, and will play first base and pitch. She's expected to share pitching duties with Sophie Schomer, one of at least four Newark freshmen who could contribute.
Junior Riane Tomsa played outfield last year, but could move to third base at some point.
"She's a nice offensive player with excellent speed, another gap hitter," Crackel said. "She works as hard as anybody."
Two other juniors, Nikki Kala and Becca Sweeney, will play center field and catcher, respectively. JJ Mitchell, Meggie Scott and Lexie Long are three other freshmen who could contribute.
"We're a lot younger, but I think there will be a lot of competition for playing time," Crackel said. "I'm hoping it turns into a nice team. I think it will."