CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia State softball coach Bob Allen just doesn't think he has one pitcher of the year candidate on his roster this season.
The 10th-year Yellow Jackets coach believes he has two.
State features two all-conference selections in Sara Pelegreen and Kelsey Lorraine, providing Allen with a solid one-two punch at his disposal.
"I think they both want to be pitcher of the year," Allen said. "It would be wonderful if they were co-pitchers of the year. I think these two have a purpose this year. If our pitching holds up, it could be one of best teams we've ever had."
Pelegreen and Lorraine will begin their quest for West Virginia Conference pitcher of the year when State opens its season today in Raleigh, N.C., a doubleheader against Lock Haven and Fayetteville State.
The Yellow Jackets were ranked second in the WVC preseason poll. The Yellow Jackets finished last season 47-15 overall and 22-4 in league play.
Last season Pelegreen, an Ohio native, was a first team all-conference selection with a 17-7 record, 1.48 earned run average, and six shutouts. She struck out 153 batters in 129 innings and only allowed 79 hits.
Meanwhile, Lorraine came to Institute from Georgia and was a second-team all-WVC performer her junior season. She dealt with injuries last season, yet still compiled a 16-4 record, 2.22 ERA and five shutouts.
Both are seniors and understand the importance of their last season as a member of the Yellow Jackets.
"I just know this year I have a whole new outlook," Pelegreen said. "I'm going to work even harder just because I know this is my last time. I just know, personally, it would make my life to win conference this year and go out with a bang."
"It is very important for us," Lorraine said. "We have been working for four years since we have been here. This is our last chance to get a conference title. The team has improved each year, and if we can continue that trend, it will turn out well for us."