Sarah Bragg used to be a pitcher.
In fact, when she was a freshman at Bangor High School, she made the team as a pitcher.
But Bangor was loaded with quality arms so she became an infielder and the starting third baseman.
Bragg will be back in the circle this year because the Rams have graduated their three pitchers off last year’s team: Skylar Cassum, Emily Reilly and Cordelia Stewart.
Bragg is expected to get the start Wednesday when the Rams open their season against visiting Oxford Hills of South Paris at 1 p.m.
Bangor coach Don Stanhope said Bragg told him she wanted to return to the circle.
“I missed it,” said Bragg, who began pitching in sixth grade and pitched summer league ball a year ago and then worked with Ellsworth-based pitching coach Rick Roberts during the winter to prepare for her new role.
She said the transition has been “pretty simple.”
“I’ve gotten used to it again. It has gone really well so far. I’ve been surprised and shocked,” said Bragg, whose arsenal of pitches includes a fastball, drop, curve, change-up and screwball.
“My changeup is my best pitch,” she said.
Classmate Emily Gilmore has been impressed by Bragg.
“She hadn’t pitched in a couple of years so I was skeptical but she looks really good. She worked really hard this winter,” said Gilmore. “She has a real good changeup. She’s ready to go. I’m proud of her.”
Stanhope said Bragg isn’t a power pitcher but has a good mix of offerings.
“And she has some good movement on her pitches,” he added.
The other pitcher likely to see a lot of duty is senior Kathryn Sund, who saw limited service a year ago.
“She has looked strong as well,” said Stanhope. “She has really worked hard on hitting her spots and getting good movement on her pitches.”
“Kathryn looks real good,” added Gilmore.
Junior Page Cadorette and sophomore lefty Lexi Cunningham also could see some time in the circle. Both pitched for the junior varsity team last season.
In addition to their pitching staff, the Rams will have to replace six everyday starters off a team that went 15-4 last spring and lost a heartbreaking 3-2 eight-inning game to eventual state champ Messalonskee of Oakland in the regional final.
The only returning starters are Gilmore, Bragg and Megan Conner. Gilmore was the center fielder last spring, Bragg was the third baseman and Conner played second.
The University of Maine-bound Gilmore hit .465 last season and led the team in homers (5), doubles (13) and runs (30).
Opposing teams may pitch around Gilmore and she is cognizant of that possibility.
“I’m worried that they won’t pitch to me but I’ve worked on being able to cover the whole plate,” said Gilmore. “I’m also going to have to be disciplined (and not swing at bad pitches).”
Gilmore will be an outfielder-second baseman this spring; Bragg will see action at second when she isn’t pitching and Conner will move over to third.
Shortstop Emma Payne, catcher Quinn Wood and first baseman Jenna Bishop will be first-year starters and the outfield also will have some newcomers.
Stanhope feels that despite the inexperience, he has plenty of talent on his roster and believes his Rams will be very competitive.
“We have a really good group of kids who have played a lot of softball,” he said.
“We’re going to be pretty good,” added Gilmore, who noted that several players have gained valuable experience by playing in important games in other sports.