1. Scarborough

The defending Class A state champs return their top two pitchers, senior Melissa Dellatorre and sophomore Mo Hannan (recovering from a knee injury), as well as starters Heather Carrier, Jen Colpitts, Jordan Finley and Abby Rutt. Sophomore Dominique Burnham and freshmen Erin Giles and Marissa O’Toole add pitching depth. The Red Storm are still the team to beat.

2. Cheverus

If anyone is going to challenge Scarborough, it could be the Stags. They lost only two starters from last year, the majority of the returning players have been on the team for three years and transfer Jasmyn Welch from McAuley adds hitting and defense at third base. Pitcher Theresa Hendrix and catcher Audrey Grinnell are two of the best in the SMAA.

3. Thornton Academy

Eight starters return from last year’s regional semifinalists, giving the Trojans a strong foundation both in the field and at the plate. Sophomore pitcher Julia Geaumont will try to build on her impressive freshman season. The Trojans have to improve their defense, which cost them four games last year, in order to contend.

4. Gray-New Gloucester

The Patriots have perhaps the state’s top pitcher in senior Laura Getchell, who has a dominating assortment of pitches. That gives them an obvious edge in a sport controlled by pitching. But the Patriots have other key returnees: Abby Ryan, Taylor Damon, Natalie Tomberelli, Kassie Wilson, Cassie Stokes and Alicia Valente.

5. South Portland

The Riots, who advanced to the regional final a year ago, have three of the SMAA’s top players in pitcher/outfielder Alexis Bogdanovich, catcher Stephanie Thibeault (moving from shortstop) and right fielder Danielle DiBiase. They also have two top freshmen in Erin Bogdanovich and Danica Gleason.

6. Kennebunk

The Rams are still relatively young, but they have some exceptional talent. Sophomores Janelle Bouchard, perhaps the state’s best catcher, and Alex Leonardi, a steady shortstop, both hit over .400 last year. Both pitchers, senior Kelly King and sophomore Hanna King, return and freshman Carinn Burns adds hitting depth.

7. Georges Valley

The Buccaneers are always one of the teams to watch in Class C. Pitcher Danielle Frye takes a 41-2 record and seven career no-hitters into her senior season. The Bucs can also hit the ball. Sophomore first baseman Jill Bradbury hit .477 last year with 16 RBI; Frye hit .444; sophomore catcher Jesse Veilleux hit .347; senior second baseman Bethany Snow hit .340.

8. Morse

Eight starters return from last year’s 2-14 team, but it should be noted six of those losses were by one run. The Shipbuilders have a top battery with four-year starters Meagan Hennessey in the circle and Alejandra Rodriquez behind the plate. Shortstop Emma Seeley and center fielder Lauren Hixon provide strength up the middle.

9. Fryeburg Academy

Yes, the Raiders need to replace Hannah Hill, but they have some of the best offensive talent around and may win games by thumping opponents rather than outpitching them. Junior Charlotte Lewis will be the new pitcher. Brylie Walker, Ariel McConkey, Maggie McConkey and Kelsey Sheehan will provide the hitting.

10. Yarmouth

Looking for a dark-horse team in the WMC? Look at the Clippers. While still young, they have some talent and could challenge the conference leaders. Junior Abby Hutchinson pounds the strike zone and she’ll have help this year from freshman McKenzie Gray. Catcher Julie Dursema and first baseman Morgan Ruetty could be the offensive leaders.