The high school softball season opens in just over a week (April 9, to be exact). Let’s take a look back at what happened last season, and what to look for in 2014 (although I am still in the process of getting back preseason forms from coaches).
The Register will present its annual softball preview, including the preseason Top 10 Poll, in print and on-line next week.
Finally, vote for who you think is the state’s best player at the end of this post!
WHAT HAPPENED LAST SEASON
LL: Southington def. Mercy 1-0
L: Masuk def. Foran 3-2
M: Waterford def. Granby 6-3
S: Oxford def. Terryville 1-0
Mercy’s Astin Donovan named Register All-Area MVP.
Masuk’s Tatum Buckley named Register All-State MVP.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN 2014
Defending champion: Mercy
Contenders: Amity, Cheshire, East Haven, Foran, Mercy
In the mix: Hand, Law, Sacred Heart Academy, North Haven, West Haven
Top players: Stephanie Cameron, Law, Sr., CF; Fallon Bevino, Foran, Sr., SS; Madison DeRita, Mercy, Jr., CF; Donovan, Mercy, Sr., SS; Molly Flowers, Sacred Heart Academy, Sr., P; Jess Harkness, Foran, Sr., P; Talia Loda, East Haven, Sr., P; BryAnna McIntosh, Cheshire, Sr., SS; Brianne Melillo, North Haven, Sr., CF; Mel Rennie, Hand, Jr., C; Kial Watts, West Haven, Jr., 3B/SS/P.
Notes: Foran, Mercy and East Haven seem poised to be the top teams in the league … East Haven P Ireland Miessau transferred to Lauralton Hall … North Haven P Arianna Pustari will not play this season (back injury) … Jr. OF Victoria Navarro transfered from Career to West Haven, while Sr. C Amber Bonewicz returns to West Haven after attending a school in Maine last season …. Harkness has a career record of 45-6. Her six career losses have been by a combined total of eight runs … Amity P/DP Heather Ferranti will miss some action due to injury … Rennie moves from 1B to C for Hand, while teammate Katie Omdahl, also a Jr., moves from C to P.
SWC: Defending champion: Masuk.
Notes: Lauralton Hall moves up to Class L and has a new coach, Amanda Acampora …. Oxford, which won Class S last season, moves up to Class M this year. The Wolverines will be led by one of the state’s top pitchers in JR Ashley Guillette … Buckley is headed to Florida Atlantic in the fall.
Shoreline: Defending champion: Haddam-Killingworth
Notes: H-K seeks to advance to Shoreline Conference championship game for the fourth straight year. Cougars will be led by Sr. C Casey Jackson and Sr. SS Lauren McCann … Morgan returns eight starters, including Jr. SS Jen Dawson and So. P Emily Popp. Huskies lost to H-K in last season’s SLC championship game.
NVL: Defending champion: Torrington
Notes: Torrington, led by North Carolina-bound senior pitcher Sydney Matzko, is loaded and poised to repeat as league champions … Seymour returns one of the state’s top players in senior Katie Petroski, as well as So. P Raeanne Geffert. Former Amity and Lauralton Hall assistant Neil Swanchak returns to the Seymour bench for his second stint as an assistant with the Wildcats.
ECC: Defending champion: East Lyme
Notes: East Lyme returns all but one player from a team that won ECC title last season … Waterford, the defending Class M champion, should be solid with the return of Sr. C Elaina Sullivan, So. OF Claire Hurley (the Class M MVP last season), Jr. SS Jodi Weiss and So. 3B Sara Buscetto … Arielle Cooper, a player on Fitch’s 2009 state championship team (which defeated Rachele Fico and Masuk), has been named the Falcons’ interim coach while head coach Kate Prpich is on maternity leave … Stonington P Theresa Kane will attend Georgetown.
CCC: Defending Class LL champion Southington has a new coach (Davina Hernandez, who takes over for the retired John Bores), and returns Sr. SS Sydney Ferrante. Junior Kendra Friedt is expected to take over in the pitching circle after the graduation of last year’s starter Jordyn Moquin … Bristol Central, led by Sr. OF Olivia Banulski, Sr. 2B/C Lauren Vallee and Sr. P Ileish Burney, just may be the most talented team in the league … Berlin has both its pitcher (Sr. Makayla Harris) and catcher (Sr. Amanda Patterson), as well as Sr. CF Courtney Silva back. The Red Coats should be very dangerous … Rocky Hill SS Erika Leonard, who will attend Maine, will be one of the league’s top players … Maloney is also expected to be very good.
CSC: Defending champion: Platt Tech
Notes: Platt Tech should again be in the mix for the league title. Sr. P Brooke Pawlak went 16-4 in the circle and batted .426 last season. Jr. 3B Veronica Buzelle (.418 last season) , So. 2B Alyssa Lewandowski (.326) and So. C Autumn Lewandowski (.318) joined Pawlak on the all-CSC first team last season … O’Brien Tech will be young but has a solid foundation in its returning players, including C Giya Perrin and 1B/CF Ashley Pavelko.