With five freshmen expected to contribute, the future certainly looks bright for Shelton High’s softball team.

But don’t count out the Gaelettes in the short term either.

“We’re definitely going to make the postseason. I just think that’s a no doubter with this group,” coach Joann Desrochers said.

Shelton will have to find a way to win three more games than it did a year ago to qualify for the state playoffs.

Coming off a 5-14 season that included a trio of one-run nail-biting defeats, the new-look Gaelettes are primed to make a run at a state postseason berth.

Qualifying for the Southern Connecticut Conference tourney will be more of a challenge, but is within reach.

“I’m hoping to make it this year,” Desrochers said.

Tough competition within the division stands to come from Daniel Hand of Madison and Foran of Milford.

Shelton opens the season Monday with a home contest against Wilbur Cross of New Haven at 3:45, in the first of three straight home tilts to begin the campaign.

The Gaelettes will get looks at Foran and Hand in back-to-back games, April 10 at home and April 12 on the road.

In addition to the influx of youth is an experienced returning group.

Senior captains are Maggie Carlucci at second base, catcher Bry Heuser, and Emily Renkowsky, who is recovering from injury as the regular season gets started.

Junior shortstop Jenna Bennett also brings experience to the infield.

Third baseman Anna Leone, center fielder Amanda Kiman and twin Rachel Kiman (position to be determined), along with left fielder Jackie Jenco, Alexis Resto and pitcher Julia Krijgsman are freshmen whom Desrochers and assistants Stacey Garrity and Mike Krijgsman anticipate making an impact.

“We’re a very young team. I’m excited to see what they can do. They already earned their place,” Carlucci said as the preseason unfolded last week. “I’m excited to see what they can do in my senior season. I’m hoping to go far this year.”

What makes expectations so high is the talent level of the incoming team members, who have played youth softball together for years.

“It’s a pretty cohesive group. They can hit. They can field,” Desrochers said.

A key to success will be stringing hits together to produce runs.

Shelton scored its share last year, putting up seven or more runs a whopping 10 times last spring.

“I’m pumped for this season. I think this is going to be a really exciting season,” Desrochers said.