With just one senior on the roster, the future appears bright for the Brookfield softball team.
With a 14-4 record and just two regular-season games remaining, the present doesn’t appear too bad for the Bobcats, either.
Impressive run totals have been the norm for Brookfield, which has averaged 12.8 runs per game before its matchup Tuesday against Bethel. The Bobcats boast plenty of firepower as Emily Parchinski, Avery Katz, Laila Cofone and Kailee Synder — all juniors — have been key contributors.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect to come through with the record we came through with, considering we did lose some good players with good stats,” Bobcats senior Adriana Fiori said. “But our team really came together early, and we’ve played to the best of our abilities.”
It’s not just the junior class, either. A strong freshmen group has already yielded productivity as several have stepped into key rolls. Alyssa Conrad (outfield/pitcher), Hanna Scallon, Jackie Santiago (first base), Jillian Mitchell (pitcher) and Skylar Chelednik (second base) all have seen time this season.
“The girls have been playing very well,” Bobcats coach Nick Castellano said. “This is a young team; they’re going to get better. They stick together as a team, which is really nice to see.”
Fiori — an All-Patriot Division selection from a year ago — is the lone senior for Brookfield, while sophomore Mia Ballard is an outfielder.
Brookfield reached the Class L final with a 20-5 mark last year and appeared headed for a step back with the graduation of several stellar players. That hasn’t happened and excitement built behind a 9-1 start with an offense that kept mashing.
“I think that definitely helped our team feel more comfortable with their abilities, and to come together and play as a family and as a team,” Fiori said. “We focus on getting along and making sure everyone is comfortable with each other on and off the field in practice.”
Finding a pitcher to replace graduated senior Alyssa Lionetti — now pitching at WestConn — has been a journey for Brookfield, and one that gets to play out over the next several seasons. Sophomore Emma Sands is the most experienced of the group.
“You can’t replace an Alyssa because it’s a different team,” Castellano said. “You don’t look back and try to replace; we’re trying to develop young girls who are freshmen and sophomores, and turn that into a strong position for this year, next year and the following year.”
The Bobcats have struggled in losses against the top teams in the SWC, but have rebounded each time. Defensive adjustments have been made across the field as the season went on with many players in different roles than a year ago. The Bobcats have been involved in few close games, but that might change in the postseason.
“Every time we’ve lost to a good team, we didn’t take it personally because those are good teams,” Katz said. “Although we are good, we do have newer players and we have to keep that in mind. We’re just excited to play them in the playoffs and we now know what we have to go against.”
Brookfield is trying to closing in on a top four seed for this weekend’s SWC tournament and is currently in the No. 7 spot in the Class L rankings. Last season’s run to the final game in June is a strong motivation to those who were there.
“I’m just going to remember how special the games were, and that was such a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Katz said. “I just want to be able to do that again.”