FAIRFIELD >> Experience is the key word this spring around the Fairfield Warde softball diamond, and the Mustangs sure do have a lot of it.
A year ago that was spent figuring out lineups, what worked and what didn’t, the Mustangs are hoping that will pay dividends this season.
Warde, which lost in the opening round of the Class LL state tournament, returns its entire starting lineup and boasts a mature and familiar squad.
“It was a growing year for us,” said Warde head coach Gary Quiricone of last year. “I think we grew as a team and by the time we got to the second half of the season (last year), we were playing much better than we did the first half. Now, we’re looking to carry that over to the beginning of this season and even further.”
Added senior co-captain Kenzie Burns: “I think we’re definitely more confident coming into it because we know we have solid players and we don’t have to adjust anymore. We know where everyone is at, which I think is important to have.”
Defense will be the No. 1 strength for Warde as Burns (second base) and Michelle Treglia (shortstop) anchor a strong infield. Sophomore Gabi Natoli returns to the mound with a year of playing varsity under her belt. Quiricone said they also gained Natalie de la Garrigue, a transfer student from Texas. Along with a handful of others scattered throughout the infield and outfield, the Mustangs are hoping to present opposing teams some challenges.
“I think our defense is just going to be really solid,” said Treglia, who is a senior and co-captain. “It’s going to be hard for them (other teams).”
Quiricone said along with their defense, if the offense at the plate can stay consistent, they’ll be a tough out this season.
“I think overall we’re as competitive as anyone in the FCIAC, and for that matter the state,” Quiricone said.
“We have a very strong middle of the lineup,” Treglia said.
Warde will open up the season on Wednesday as they travel to Bunnell. They face a tough road stretch next week against St. Joes on Monday, Greenwich on Wednesday and Darien on Friday.
Quiricone said the goals are always to make the FCIAC and State Tournament, and with this group, experience could go a long way.
“I believe that this team, with their talent, can reach some very positive goals,” Quiricone said.