TAMPA — In a distinct way, this year's Chamberlain High softball team is different from your usual Chiefs' model.
Chamberlain typically is rife with experience, boasting athletes who have played their positions for years.
But this season's installment is rather young with every position player, except junior third baseman Lani Trent, at a new position.
"This year is about how we are going to develop and how fast we can get to where we want to be," said coach Bob Diez, who at 70 is in his 27th year with the Chiefs. "After graduating six seniors from last year's team, we had to make adjustments to make it all work."
For instance, at first and second base are freshmen Selina Ramos and Serenity Jaenichen, and at shortstop is junior newcomer Armana Ware. Leftfield, meanwhile, features a rotation between Brooke Rosello and newcomer Rebecca Dorsett.
In centerfield is Maddie Lewis, who moved from leftfield, and in rightfield is Jadyn Clark, who moved into Chamberlain's district from Jefferson.
Finally at catcher is Haylie Corcho, who played very little behind the plate last year before breaking her hand. So this year, for all intents and purposes, Corcho is getting her first full-time experience at catcher.
The good news is that all of the above are performing well, along with what is arguably the Chiefs' greatest strength, senior pitchers Gabrielle Vallee and Shannon Maloney, who are committed to Barry and Nova Southeastern, respectively.
So far, Vallee has handled the majority of the load while Maloney recovers from a strained quadricep.
Both, however, have pretty much been lights out, allowing only eight total runs with four shutouts while running Chamberlain's record to 7-0.
"(Vallee and Maloney) give us tremendous confidence because we know they are always going to be there for us, keeping us in games," said Lewis, a Florida International University commit. "As for everybody else, I think we have come together very well and we're getting better all the time because we keep getting more and more reps at practice and in games."
Diez concurs, saying Vallee and Maloney are key while the hitting — Lewis and Clark lead the way with .400-plus averages — steadily improves.
Diez, of course, has the same ultimate expectation that he has always had: Win a state title, something he did in 2003 and 2012.
"We are looking forward to the next few weeks (with challenging tournaments at Palm Harbor University and Bartow) because then we should find out how good we are and how good we might be," Diez said. "I think we have a chance to be pretty good again because this group is willing to adjust and do what it needs to do to get better."
Lady 'Canes Spring Classic
Host: Palm Harbor University
Where: Eddie C. Moore Complex, 3050 Drew St., Clearwater
March 23: Tarpon Springs vs. Tampa Catholic, 5 p.m.; Academy at the Lakes vs. Freedom, 5; Plant vs. Durant, 5; Newsome vs. Osceola, 5; Chamberlain vs. Mitchell, 7; Jefferson vs. Palm Harbor University, 7; East Lake vs. Wesley Chapel, 7; Strawberry Crest vs. Holy Names, 7
March 24: Games at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. (final)