The Palos Verdes softball team returns a horde of firepower from last years Bay League championship team, and things are already looking promising for the Sea Kings.

PV took care of L.A. City powers San Pedro and Banning in the final week of February, and coach Pat Fresch isn't shying away from the expectations on this years squad.

"Our goal is to win a league title. We should be a tough team to beat," Fresch said.

Fresch knows any key to success begins with pitching.

The Sea Kings return four-year starter Addy Kostrencich and junior Holly Stiebel. While Kostrencich is PV's No. 1, Stiebel will look to continue a stellar sophomore campaign where she posted an 0.95 ERA.

"I think having two No. 1 type pitchers is a really nice luxury," Fresch said. "They're two totally different looks and styles, and they can make it difficult on opponents."

Those are just two of PV's returners.

Catcher Rachel Allen returns for what looks to be another big year. The junior has already committed to Notre Dame, and is the returning Bay League Player of the Year.

Allen holds the PV record with 20 home runs, and the junior has driven in 69 runs during her freshman and sophomore campaigns while compiling a .504 batting average.

Senior OF Nikki Mabry is a big threat for PV on the base paths. Mabry currently has 23 steals (as of Monday March 2).

PV also returns juniors Brooke Stiebel and Ellen Hubbard and sophomore Hannah Allen.

"Having several juniors who are two and three-year starters who almost all hit for power gives us a veteran team, along with our two seniors who are also four years starters," Fresch said.

Preparing to defend its league title, PV is running itself through a gauntlet of a nonleague schedule.

Having already beaten San Pedro and Banning, PV still has games against South (March 5) and Gahr, as well as the annual Torrance National Tournament (TNT). PV's two losses came against Cypress (5-0) and Carson (3-0)

"We've had the opportunity to play some strong programs already, and I feel ilk those games have given us a belief that we are a pretty good team and can compete at all times," Fresch said. "I don't know if we had that the last few years."

Fresch feels that confidence will begin to pay dividends for the Sea Kings as the season rolls on.

"As a team, we are starting to believe in ourselves, which could go a long way for us," Fresch said. "The girls are mashing well as a group right now, but there's still room to grow and get better as a team."

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