It's no surprise the defending Div. 1 champions Milford is debuting at the top spot in the Globe softball Top 20. With returning Gatorade Player of the Year Shannon Smith back in the circle, the Scarlet Hawks will be a force in Eastern Mass.
Bridgewater-Raynham takes the second slot, returning All Scholastic shortstop and Fordham commit Madi Shaw. The Trojans captured the South crown last season and will be a contender again this year.
Although No. 3 King Philip lost All-Scholastic Meg Rico, senior pitcher Anna O'Neill is ready to step in and show batters what she's made of.
No. 4 Dracut returns senior captain Lauren Ramirez to the circle. The Middies also welcome back their starting infield from last season's North championship team.
Fairhaven takes the fifth spot with promises of a deep playoff run for another season. The Blue Devils will look to senior Courtney Girouard at the plate and on the mound to get things going.
With Stephanie Cornish, MacKenzie Gillis and Alicia Reid back for No. 12 Abington, the Green Wave will have a shot at capturing the Division 2 South title for a second year in a row.
Malden, which finished in the top spot last season debuts at No. 15. The Golden Tornadoes lost their All-Scholastic battery of Kiara Amos and Emily Hoffman, but will still be force in the North.
No. 19 Wakefield makes its debut in the Top 20, returning the majority of last seasonís team. Emma Kraus, Abby Dicredico and Marissa Wardell will lead the way for the Warriors.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.