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Lincoln East vs. Lincoln Southeast, prep softball, 8/21/18

Lincoln Southeast outfielder Estrella Uribe makes a catch for the third out in the third inning against Lincoln East on Aug. 21, 2018 at Bair Softball Complex.

East

Coach: Lance Kingery.

2018: 17-21.

Returning starters: OF Emily Prai, sr.; INF Ashley Rising, sr.; INF Jayden Shigley, jr.; INF Whitnee Curry, jr.; INF Dakota Gasseling, jr.; INF Morgan Adams, so.; P Campbell Petrick, so.; C Maddie Divis, so.; C/DP Kyndal Colon, so.

Outlook: The Spartans may have very well been the youngest team in Class A last year. Now they're looking to build on that experience gain. Prai (.561 average last year) is one of the state's top outfielders, and Petrick returns after winning 13 games in the circle as a freshman.

Lincoln High

Coach: Fred Simpson.

2018: 9-25.

Returning starters: C/INF Anna Anderson, sr.; OF Shelby Toman, sr.; P/INF Kayla Farmer, jr.; INF Cecelia Williams, so.; OF Noelani Anderson, so.

Outlook: The Links will be young, and Simpson calls it an energetic group. Anderson leads the way. She hit .420 with 23 RBIs a season ago. Two freshmen — Makinley Thomas and Brittyn Schutz — could see immediate playing time.

North Star

Coach: Brittany Hansen.

2018: 24-14 (Class A state tournament qualifier).

Returning starters: OF Halie Gibson, sr.; INF Carly Dembowski, sr.; UTL Mikaela Lawrence, sr.; P/UTL Hanna Roth; C/OF Lyndsey Roth, jr.; INF Abby Krieser, jr.

Outlook: The Navigators must replace several key players from last year, but this remains a very talented team. Gibson, Dembowski, Krieser and Hanna Roth have a lot of varsity experience, and Lyndsey Roth had a breakout sophomore season.

Northeast

Coach: Beth Singleton.

2018: 5-34.

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Returning starters: P/OF Alexa Williams, sr.; INF Sarah Showalter, sr.; INF Alexi Williams, sr.; OF Delaney Exon, sr.; C/INF Sophia Mirabella, jr.; OF/P Deleesi Bartling, so.; P Maddi Duncan, so.

Outlook: Beth Singleton begins her first year as the program's head coach and they'll turn to a solid group of seniors for a turnaround. Alexa Williams is a good starting point. She is a Texas-San Antonio commit and can play several positions.

Pius X

Coach: Christy Kruger.

2018: 13-20.

Returning starters: Matti Reling, sr.; Delaney Meyer, sr.; Elli Just, so.; Moira Baxter, so.

Outlook: The Thunderbolts, who must replace Lynsey Tucker and Elise Wilhelm, remain a very young team. Aside from Just and Baxter, several other underclassmen are expected to make contributions this season.

Southeast

Coach: Kirk Svendsen.

2018: 19-23.

Returning starters: INF Trinity Babcock, sr.; P/UTL Kaeding Rassfeld, sr.; C Amanda Schmaderer, sr.; OF Estrella Uribe, sr.; INF Rylan Ewoldt, jr.; P/INF Karis Gifford, jr.; INF Jacey McKoen, jr.

Outlook: The Knights return a lot of offensive production from last year's team, including Ewoldt, one of the state's top players. She earned Super-State second-team honors after belting 21 homers in 2018. Several sophomores also are expected to contribute.

Southwest

Coach: Mark Watt.

2018: 39-5 (Class A state champion).

Returning starters: OF Abbie Squier, sr.; C/INF Shelby Gunter, sr.; OF/P Kelsey Kobza, sr.; INF Emma Hain, jr.; C/INF Skylar Pieper, jr.; OF/INF Josi Solano, jr.; INF Ashley Smetter, so.; INF Ellie Grabouski, so.

Outlook: Super-Staters Emma Kauf and McKenzie Steiner have graduated, leaving big shoes to fill in the circle and behind the plate. But a great foundation remains in place. Nebraska recruit Squier and shortstop Hain are among the state's top players.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.

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