It almost doesn’t seem fair that Masuk’s defending Class L champions have most of their talent back, save for catcher Erica Pullen and shortstop Alexa Bacoulis.
The dynamic duo of Sam Schiebe and Madison Procyk in the circle, plus a strong lineup has convinced enough voters to make Masuk the No. 1 team in the preseason GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 poll for 2019.
It was far from unanimous, however, with FIVE other Top 10 teams receiving first-place votes, including No. 2 St. Joseph, last year’s Class M champion which has been moved up to Class L to compete for the title alongside Masuk.
You won’t have to wait until June: No. 1 Masuk travels to No. 2 St. Joseph Saturday at 1 p.m.
MORE SOFTBALL 2019: 25 PLAYERS TO WATCH | TOP STORYLINES / GAMES TO WATCH
Trumbull and Amity, last year’s Class LL finalists, come in at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. Both received a pair of first-place votes.
The last two teams to earn a first-place vote is not No. 5 Southington, but No. 6 Cheshire and No. 7 Norwich Free Academy. NFA narrowly lost to Cheshire in last year’s Class LL quarterfinals.
Class M quarterfinalist Seymour, Class M runner-up Griswold and Class L semifinalist Hand round out the Top 10.
The 2019 GameTimeCT Preseason Top 10 Softball Poll
|TEAM (1st place votes)||2018||PTS||LAST||CLASS|
|1. MASUK (7)||27-0||406||1||L|
|Last Year: Won Class L championship, 10-0, over Brookfield.
Bottom Line: With most of its core returning, the Panthers return to the top spot by a slim margin.
|2. ST. JOSEPH (2)||23-4||396||3||L|
|Last Year: Def. Griswold 5-2 to win Class M title.
Bottom Line: Cadets move up to Class L one of the most fascinating parts of the upcoming season.
|3. TRUMBULL (2)||24-3||357||4||LL|
|Last Year: Lost to Amity 13-7 in Class LL final.
Bottom Line: Eagles return strong core as they chase three straight state finals under coach Jacqui Sheftz.
|4. AMITY (2)||24-4||330||2||LL|
|Last Year: Def. Trumbull 13-7 in Class LL final.
Bottom Line: The Spartans got hot at just the right time to earn the state crown.
|Last Year: Lost to Amity 6-5 in Class LL semifinals.
Bottom Line: Kara Zazzaro is now at Iona, but a strong lineup returns.
|6. CHESHIRE (1)||21-3||304||7||LL|
|Last Year: Lost to Trumbull 6-5 in Class LL semifinals.
Bottom Line: Mia Juodaitis, Bri Floyd and Lexie Hemstoock form a strong senior core for Rams.
|7. NFA (1)||20-6||282||NR||LL|
|Last Year: Lost to Cheshire 6-5 in Class LL quarterfinals.
Bottom Line: A lot of hype surrounding the Wildcats, who return ace Bailey Comeau.
|Last Year: Lost to Granby 3-2 in Class M quarterfinals.
Bottom Line: Despite the loss of Becca Johnson (Colgate), there appear to be few weaknesses with the NVL giants.
|Last Year: Lost to St. Joseph 5-2 in Class M final.
Bottom Line: Wolverines proved they could play with the big girls by winning the ECC title. Should be a major threat again.
|Last Year: Lost to Brookfield 6-5 in Class L semis.
Bottom Line: SCC will be loaded again to the point of cannibalization in the polls.
|First-place votes in parentheses and points tabulated on a 30-28-26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis.|
|Dropped out: North Branford (9), Stafford (10).
Others receiving votes: E.O. Smith (19-3) 132; North Haven (19-5) 118; North Branford (26-1) 116; Stamford (15-9) 76; Ludlowe (17-6) 62; Stafford (24-2) 54; East Haven (14-10) 43; Granby (23-3) 36; Brookfield 34 (20-5); South Windsor (17-6) 31; Newtown 27 (19-7); St. Paul (21-5) 23 and Waterford (12-10) 23; Danbury (14-8) 21; Coginchaug (17-6) 15; Bristol Eastern (15-5) 11; Barlow (16-7) 10; Northwestern (22-1) 8; Ellington (15-7), Guilford (17-8) and Montville (16-6) 7.
|The following voted: Scott Ericson, Stamford Advocate; Steve DeMartino, Coginchaug; Vickie Fulkerson, The Day; George DeMaio, WELI; Jimmy Zanor, Norwich Bulletin; Jeff Babineau, St. Joseph; Ryan Lacey, Danbury News Times; Ken Pereiras, Seymour; Mike Madera, Hearst Connecticut Media; Dave Phillips, Hearst Connecticut Media; Tim Jensen, Patch; Brian Burdick, NFA; Nick DeLizio, North Branford; Richard Zalusky, Willimantic Chronicle; Lori Riley, Hartford Courant.Compiled by Ryan Lacey|