LEMONT — After repeatedly settling for second place behind Oak Forest in the South Suburban Blue Conference, the Lemont softball team broke through in 2012 and grabbed a share of the league title.
Now, with a relatively youthful roster, the Indians will try to make it two in a row.
"Hopefully we will be competitive again in the conference," said Lemont coach Chris Traina. "The way they are bonding together, that chemistry is good to see. Every coach says their players are hard workers but with this group, when you tell them something, they really concentrate on it.
"Their work ethic is outstanding in all aspects of the game. They want to fine tune themselves."
A major reason for optimism lies with the return of a veteran inside the pitching circle. Senior Carly Jaworski, who will continued her career at Lewis University, is back for a third year.
"I think great things are in store for her," the coach said. "Every year she has gotten better and better. She is a hard worker."
Surrounding Jaworski is a strong core of players, including Alyssa Molaro, Lizzy Forzley, Lauren May and Rylie Jay.
After that, there are a few question marks with a roster that features just four seniors.
"We will see who will step up," Traina said. "All of them are working really hard and once the games get started, we will see them in game situations.
"Offensively, we will have to wait and see. But we should be OK. We did lose some big bats so again, we will see who steps up. And defensively, we should be pretty solid."
As for the conference, while Oak Forest continues to be the stiffest competition, the other teams in the league aren't pushovers.
"Every year, the teams are getting tougher and tougher," Traina said. "Of course you have Oak Forest and then Tinley Park, we always have good games with them. Reavis, their coach has done a nice job, and Richards is tough too."
Another goal of the team is to advance further in the postseason. Lemont fell to Providence in a regional final in 2012.
Meet the Indians
Coach: Chris Traina
2012 record: 25-10 (16-3 in the South Suburban)
Carly Jaworski sr. P/IF/OF
Alyssa Molaro sr. 1B/3B
Lauren May so. C
Rylie Jay so. SS
Lizzy Forzley jr. 1B
First game: 11 a.m. Saturday at Homewood Flossmoor
Record posted by Carly Jaworski in her first two seasons as a varsity pitcher for Lemont. As the staff ace last spring, she went 13-7 with a 2.52 ERA while batting .420 with five homers and 36 RBIs