Nine letterwinners are back for Joe Frank, Archbold head softball coach, from a team that finished 25-5, 8-0 in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League last year.
It was the 10th straight year the Streaks won or shared the league title.
The Streaks made it all the way to the Division III regional finals before falling to Bloom Carroll, the eventual state runners-up.
Frank has spent 14 years as AHS softball coach, and has compiled a 315-80 record.
Six seniors return: Cassi Wyse (first base, First Team All-NWOAL, Second Team All-District, .470 batting average, 42 runs batted in); Payton Robinson (pitcher, Second Team All-NWOAL, 42-4 career pitching record); Madison Kohler (right field, First Team All-NWOAL, First Team All-District, honorable mention All-Ohio, .419 BA, 34 RBIs); Shelby Cline (third base, .375 BA); Neila Kinsman (outfield, .318 BA); and Brooke Hines (outfield, honorable mention All-NWOAL, .373 BA).
Alyssa Ziegler (pitcher/ outfield, First Team All- NWOAL, 12-2 record in 2015, 2.52 earned run average, .362 BA) is the only junior back.
Sophomore letterwinners are Emie Peterson (shortshop, honorable mention All-NWOAL, .354 BA, 17 RBIs) and Brooke Kohler (utility, .292 BA, 10 RBIs).
Promising newcomers include Macey Rupp, second base; McKenna Towns, pitcher/ outfield; Peyton Dickman, catcher/third base; and Andi Peterson, catcher.
Frank said team strengths include “experienced pitchers, good attitude, hardworking.”
But the Streaks have inexperience at key positions, like second base and catcher.
“Our goal is to be playing our best softball of the year when tourney time rolls around,” said Frank. “Our non-league schedule will be very challenging as we prepare to defend the NWOAL title.
“It will take some time for us to adapt to the new roles that some of our players will be asked to fill.
“We hope to defend our NWOAL title and make a tourney run, and it will take all of our players pulling in the same direction for that to happen.”
In the NWOAL, “there will be some stiff competition as we try to defend the title,” said Frank.
“Bryan returns about eight starters and has few, if any, seniors. Patrick Henry has most of its starters returning, including an All-Ohio player who missed all of last season with a knee injury.
“Evergreen and Wauseon return some key players and will make some noise in the league, as well.
“We can’t afford to take anyone lightly, or we will pay the consequences for it.”
Assistant coaches are Greg Kuhlman and Andrea Thiel.
Archbold opens its season, Monday, March 28, at Otsego.