Shaler Area was 18-2 last year in the regular season.
The Titans were 11-1 in Class AAAA Section 3 to win the section title outright. They pounded perennial contender Latrobe 9-1 in the WPIAL quarterfinals but were upset 4-3 by eventual WPIAL champion Canon-McMillan in the WPIAL semifinals.
Coach Skip Palmer, now in his 8th season at the helm of the Shaler program, was forced to fill in two giant holes from that team, the graduation of the senior pitcher/catcher duo of Sydney Smyers and Lauren Hackett.
One game into the season and Palmer and the Titans got some early action. New pitcher, freshman Brianna Dobson struck out 12 and picked up the win in a 9-3 section win over Fox Chapel. And Hackett’s replacement, sophomore catcher AJ Nicholas had three hits including one home run.
Shaler is the defending section champion but it is North Allegheny which is ranked No. 3 in the Post-Gazette preseason rankings. The Tigers return five starters from last year.
If Shaler can get solid pitching and catching from the combination of Dobson and Nichols in conjunction with a strong lineup anchored by one of the top talents in the WPIAL, senior Maddi Mulig, the Titans have a good chance to defend their section title.