Altoona (WQOW) -- The Cloverbelt Conference is hoping the weather will allow games to be played next week, and for teams like Altoona softball, good weather can't get here soon enough.
The Railroaders are indoors again Friday, trying to stay sharp for when the games actually do begin. Altoona won the Western Cloverbelt title last season, advancing to a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal before losing to eventual state champ Baldwin-Woodville.
The Rails return eight starters from that team, so they're optimistic about 2013.
Altoona senior infielder Kiara Lanners says, "Getting wins under our belts is the big thing, then just play off of that. I think with how good we are, state won't be a problem. But we have to work up to it, game by game."
"We just stressed to the kids that we have a target on our backs," says Altoona head coach Emilee Planert, "we're not going to surprise anybody this year and that we need to be prepared for every team to bring their A-game against us. And if we don't' do that, any team in this conference can take anybody else down."
With a shortened schedule expected when games begin, the Rails will rely on the team's experience.
"We've all been playing the last four years of high school, most of the seniors, so we all work together well as a team and I think it should translate onto the field," says senior shortstop Jessica Honadel.
Planert adds: "I think one of the strengths we have is that core group of seniors. They know the routine and they're able to bring some of those younger players in and focus them because they know what to expect from the coaching staff and know what to expect in terms of our program."
Altoona is scheduled to host Cadott in a doubleheader, Tuesday.
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