CRIVITZ - Entering his seventh year as the head coach of the Crivitz Wolverine softball team, Arlin Grandaw has coached some successful softball teams.

Grandaw's 2013 team is the youngest of any group he's coached, but talent and enthusiasm are there.

Like every other team in the area, the young Wolverines are stuck inside and the team may face another week or so of indoor practices.

"Our field doesn't hold up very well in this weather, so I don't see us getting outside for a little while yet," Grandaw said. "I'm taking it as a good thing for us because we have more things to work on inside."

Crivitz returns six starters, though the graduation of first-team all-conference pitcher Abby Fischer creates a large hole which will be hard to fill.

Replacing Fischer is going to be a challenging task, but Grandaw feels sophomore Amanda Pickett is ready to take over.

Pickett started at shortstop last year and possesses a strong arm. Her experience pitching during the summer is a huge plus, and according to Grandaw, she's going to keep getting better.

Pickett's battery mate is sophomore Jennifer Kempka. Kempka started at catcher last year and developed nicely, both defensively and as a hitter.

"I thought Jen did a nice job catching for us, especially for being just a freshman," Grandaw said. "With a year under her belt, I think she'll do more reacting and less thinking about what to do."

Senior Brittany Gorman is back at second base after making the all-M&O Conference first team last year. Senior Hope Heider, a second team all-conference infielder, returns and will play right field and first base.

Junior Courtney Weddel returns for her second year as the third baseman and her younger sister, Ashley, is back in centerfield, after making the all-M&O second team as a freshman.

Also returning is junior Cassie Germait in left field, a position where she improved throughout last year.

Freshman Franchesca Guarisco takes over as the starting shortstop and sophomore Breanna Kopp, a first year player, is the team's first baseman.

Grandaw likes what he sees out of Guarisco, who also serves as the backup catcher. The coach added that Guarisco can play just about anywhere, a good quality to have for a team low on numbers.

Junior Nikki Zorn is out for the first time after participating on the school's track team the past two seasons. Zorn will play right field as seeing playing time in the infield. Christine Ames, a senior utility player, is another option off the bench.

"Our numbers are low, but we have some athletic girls that want to play softball, so I like this team," Grandaw said. "I've got some great assistant coaches that are really helping us out."

Jim Pickett, the father of Amanda Pickett and former player Ali Hockers are assisting Grandaw.

Grandaw sees Peshtigo and Wausaukee as the top two teams in the conference, but feels there will be more balance this season than in past.

"I think it will be a much more competitive conference this year," Grandaw said. "Throughout the year, I see us getting better and with such a young team the future is bright."