Coach: Chris Perry (27th season)
Last year's record: 18-3
Key returning players: Cassie Schultz, jr.; Carolina Merrill, jr.; Erin Leary, jr.; Janine Fatal, jr.; Amanda Schell, so.; Jenna Bartley, so.; Alexis Boswell, so.; Rachel Cyr, so.; Lucy Scholz, so.
Newcomers: Sarah McCullough, jr.; Rachel Cyr, so.; Lucy Scholz, so.; Jenna Bartley, so.; Autumn Kligerman, fr.; McKenzie Cloutier, fr.
Strengths: Winning tradition — Perry's teams have won four state titles and 17 CAL titles, including the Division 2 title last year.
Concerns: Replacing offense and defense lost to graduation. Many returning players will be playing new positions.
Coach's outlook: "To improve one game at a time."
First game: Monday (3:45 p.m.) at Ipswich
Coach: Dave Tullgren (1st season)
Last year's record: 3-12
Key returning players: Amy Cronin, sr.; Shannon Killian, sr.; Casey Manion, sr.; Taylor Nelson, sr.; Brianna Carbonaro, sr.; Callie O'Connor, sr.; Jane Erlandson, jr.; Shannon O'Brien, jr.
Strengths: Taylor Nelson may be the best catcher in the CAL.
Concerns: Replacing All-League pitcher Sarah Erlandson.
First game: Monday (3:45 p.m.) vs. Manchester Essex
Coach: Lori Solazzo (1st season)
Last year's record: 17-5
Key returning players: Beth Castantini, sr.; Molly Rowe, sr.; Maddie Stanton, sr.; Lea Tomasz, jr.; Ashley Caselini, jr.; Kendra Dow, jr.
Newcomers: Casey Barlow, jr.; Catherine Casellini, jr.; Sarah Downey, jr.; Jackie Krusemark, jr.; Samantha Wahlgren, jr.; Victoria Allman, so.; Amy Sullivan, so; Carley Siemasko, fr.; Lauren Singer, fr.
Strengths: Hard-working, great attitude, coachable.
Concerns: Youth, most of the team has no varsity experience.
Coach's outlook: "I can't make any predictions on how we will match up against other teams in the Cape Ann, but as long as we continue on the path that we're on, I expect we'll have a successful season, which I do not solely define by our record. We head to Newport, R.I., this weekend to face two teams and then enjoy some team fun/bonding before the start of the regular season."
First game: Monday (3:45 p.m.) vs. Lynnfield
Coach: Danielle Mason (2nd season)
Last year's record: 10-8
Key returning players: Nicole Chevalier, sr.; Kaci Dumas, sr.; Molly McDonough, sr.; Angelica Ariedondo, jr.; Megan Haley, jr.; Mary Kate Corrado, so.; Sydney Snow, so.
Newcomers: Sarah Kennefick, sr.; Alyx Warner, jr.; Carley Desjardins, so.; Krystal Ludwig, so.; Tyler Feeney, fr.
Strengths: Versatile players. Great attitude.
Concerns: Finding the right defensive mix after losing five starters.
Coach's outlook: "I have hopes of returning to the state tournament and getting past the first round this year."
First game: Saturday (10 a.m.) vs. Haverhill
Coach: Jim Hounam (26th season)
Last year's record: 12-8
Key returning players: Cori Simons, jr.; Shannen Sinton, jr.; Kelsey Trudel, jr.; Kylie Gilroy, so.; Sarah Pawlick, so.; Casey Ross, so.; Mara Spears, so.; Lilly Anderson, so.
Newcomers: Ally Gallant, jr.; Peyton Hunt, so.; Rose Gaffin, so.; Ashley Shute, fr.; Brittany Gallant, fr.; Jeannie Martin, fr.; Cara Orlandi, fr.; Rachel McCarthy, fr.
Strengths: Hard workers with a positive attitude.
Concerns: Replacing four-year starting pitcher Marion Dullea. Youth.
Coach's outlook: "The way these kids work, we improve week to week."
First game: Monday (3:45 p.m.) vs. North Reading