2019 High school softball preview capsules
ECC DIVISION I
Coach: Judy Deeb (48th season)
Key returnees: Sr. P-1B Isabel Siciliano, Sr. OF Caitlyn Sievers, Sr. 2B Nikki Marsh, Jr. P-1B Olivia Quagan, Jr. SS Mya Delesdernier, Jr. IF Angie Venditti, Jr. OF Lydia Swan, Jr. OF Kelly Laplante, Jr. OF Grace Wargo, So. P-IF Jaylyn Mueller.
Top newcomers: Fr. C-IF Sophia Gannoe, Fr. OF Anna Bonnelli, So. Morgan Vane, So. Amy Piper, So. Madison Sjostrom.
Outlook: The Vikings have two experienced pitchers in Siciliano (ECC Division I all-star) and Quagan returning from a team that went 13-11 and reached the ECC tournament quarterfinals and Class L state tournament second round. A solid group of seniors and juniors will be critical to East Lyme's success if the Vikings are going to improve on last year's record. They are part of newly realigned Division I with Fitch, NFA and Woodstock Academy.
Coach: Kyle Baron (2nd season)
Key returnees: Sr. P-1B Allison Georgetti, Sr. SS Olivia Carney, Sr. OF Devin Lyon, Sr. 2B Casey Flax, Sr. 3B Meagan Giwoyna, Sr. OF Emelie Pope, Sr. OF Angelina Doak, Jr. C-OF Karly Morales, Jr. P Ellie Hohlfelder, Jr. OF Anna Guido, So. 1B-C Alyson Cabral.
Top newcomers: Sr. IF Nicole Stanford, Jr. IF Renee Prieto, So. IF Kylee Wtulich, Fr. OF Madeline Southers, Fr. OF Riley Nystrom, Fr. IF Fiona Taber.
Outlook: The Falcons went 11-13 during Baron's first season, winning games in the ECC and Class L state tournaments, but with the majority of his roster returning, Baron believes Fitch will be a factor in the Division I race and make a strong run in the state tournament. The Falcons have nonconference games against Masuk, Cheshire, Southington, Amity, Glastonbury and East Haven, so "my girls will be battled-tested this year to prepare us for tournament play," Baron said.
Norwich Free Academy
Coach: Bryan Burdick (11th season)
Key returnees: Sr. 2B Hailee Schrader, Sr. P Bailey Comeau, Sr. SS Sarah Cote, Sr. 1B Brooke Gottshall, Sr. OF Alex Burdick, Sr. 3B Julie Vincent, Sr. Utility Lindsay McCaslin, Jr. P-OF Sophia DiCocco, So. OF Alicia Abde, So. C Brenna Comeau.
Top newcomers: So. OF Sara Coley, Fr. OF Katie Bradford, Fr. OF Hannah Daniewicz.
Outlook: The Wildcats did graduate catcher Shea Gendron, The Day's All-Area Player of the Year, but do return eight starters — including All-Area picks Bailey Comeau, Schrader and DiCocco — from a team that went 20-6, finished second in the ECC tournament and reached the Class LL quarterfinals. Burdick also returns seven seniors, so that kind of experience should lead to another big season.
ECC DIVISION II
Coach: Ann-Marie Houle (16th season)
Key returnees: Sr. 2B Colette Dreher, Sr. CF Miranda Arruda, Jr. 1B Sarah Flakus, So. 3B Maggie Constantine, So. SS Tori LoPresto, Sr. P Katie Sanford.
Top newcomers: So. OF Sophia Bell, So. OF Shea O'Connor, So. P Elaina Previty, Jr. IF Breanna McNeil, Jr. IF Katie McNeil, Fr. OF Phoebe Werling, Fr. C Maddy Stepski, Fr. OF Maddie Mendez, Sr. IF Avery VanLew, Sr. IF Kaylee York, Jr. IF Haley Delmonaco, Fr. P Cayla Beverly, Sr. OF Sienna Ponte.
Outlook: The Bears, who are now part of the new Division II realignment, are coming off another solid season (15-8) that included a share of the ECC Division II title (with Waterford) and a trip to the second round of the Class M state tournament. Stonington did graduate four key players, including All-Area selections Trinity Lennon and Abby Flakus, but Houle is hopeful some of her newcomers will mature as the season progresses and help the Bears challenge for a divisional title.
Coach: Andy Walker (4th season)
Key returnees: Sr. 2B Ciana Chiappone, Sr. C Lili Stoddard, Sr. CF Chloe McCue, Sr. RF-1B Regan Mazzulli, Sr. C Alyson Sanford, Sr. IF Cassidy Susi, Jr. 1B Madison Nott, Jr. P-OF Rachel Miller, Jr. OF Riley Mazzella, Jr. 3B Taylor Lee, Jr. SS Gina McKittrick, So. P Angela Colonis, So. IF Kyleigh Pinell, So. IF Amy Pinch.
Top newcomers: So. C Emma Beardsley, Fr. P-SS Maddie Burrows, Fr. 3B Anna Donahue, Fr. C-IF Emma Marelli, Fr. OF Lily Marelli, Fr. P-1B Milena Walker.
Outlook: The Lancers went 15-11 a year ago, sharing the ECC D-II title with Stonington while making it to the ECC tournament semifinals and Class M state quarterfinals. They return a solid nucleus that includes All-Area selections Chiappone and Nott, and Walker expects some newcomers to earn spots in the lineup and give Waterford another chance to win a division title and make some noise again in the postseason.
ECC DIVISION III
Coach: Brittany Robinson (5th season)
Key returnees: Sr. OF Sarah Whatton, Jr. IF Jenna Topalis, Jr. OF McKayla Finkelstein, Jr. C Mary Creekmore, So. P-IF Sarah Rivers, So. 1B-OF Samantha Fancher, So. C Shailynn Williams.
Top newcomers: Jr. 1B Amanda Cox, So. OF Codee Carroll, So. OF Abby Fowler, Fr. IF-P Samantha Money, Fr. IF-P Aaliyah Amidon, Fr. C Paige Perkins.
Outlook: The Colonels have moved from Division I to Division III in the new ECC realignment after finishing 13-10 in 2018, including a trip to the ECC tournament quarterfinals. Rivers and freshmen Money and Amidon are all candidates to replace pitcher Madison Sanborn, one of four starters to graduate. "We will be a young team learning to work together," Robinson said, "but with lots of individual talent we hope to be a strong contender (in Division III).
Coach: Missy Parker (8th season)
Key returnees: Sr. 2B-P Joe Potter, Sr. OF Bria Fielding, Sr. OF Elizia Malloy, Jr. 3B-C Jaelynn Potter, Jr. OF Anaya Vega, So. P-1B Caylee Parker, So. C Finella Smith, So. 1B Ella Cook, So. OF-2B Alexia Liriano, So. OF Princess Hernandez.
Top newcomers: Fr. SS Cassandra Roman, Jr. Utility Andrea Kitchens-Walker, So. OF Shylin Rock.
Outlook: The Whalers, despite fielding a young team, went 6-14 while competing in the highly-competitive Division I. New London is still young, but the experience gained in 2018 will help them immensely as they move down in the newly realigned Division III in 2019. The Whalers will be led by captains Fielding and Joe Potter, while the sophomore battery of Parker and Smith continues to develop and will make New London competitive in the division and a threat to qualify for the both postseason conference and state tournaments.
Coach: Derek Wainwright (2nd season)
Key returnees: Jr. P Alexis Michon, Sr. SS Abby Diamantini, Sr. 3B Katelin Price, So. C Maggie Wainwright, So. CF Jillian Murallo, So. 1B Rori Curran, Jr. OF-IF Kyle Waite.
Top newcomers: Jr. IF Gabby Beal, Sr. OF Sydney Olsen, Sr. OF Ashley Rogers, So. IF Brooke Taylor, So. OF-IF Eva Peltier.
Outlook: The Indians had a breakout season in 2018, thanks in part of Michon, an All-Area and all-state pitcher who helped Montville finish 18-7 with a trip to the ECC semifinals and Class M second round. Diamantini is a four-year starter and Price a three-year starter while Maggie Wainwright, Murallo and Curran played key roles as freshmen. Montville will be among the favorites in the new Division III realignment that includes Ledyard, New London, Lyman Memorial and Plainfield.
ECC DIVISION IV
Coach: Nicole Nelson (6th season)
Key returnees: Sr. SS-2B-P Meghan Bergeron, Sr. P-SS Emily Nelson, Sr. 1B-3B-OF Shania Riviere, Jr. 1B-OF Taina Quinones, Jr. OF-C Taryn Bellinger, Jr. C-3B Bethany Chavez, Jr. OF Natalie Cruz.
Top newcomers: Fr. P-IF Ariana Guinassi, So. IF Abby Whewell.
Outlook: The Saints are coming off another solid season, finishing 11-10 while qualifying for both the ECC and Class S state tournaments. Bergeron, Nelson and Riviere have started since they were freshmen and form the core of St. Bernard's infield. The Saints moved down to the new Division IV with Wheeler, Windham, Putnam and Tourtellotte, and Nelson said, "the wonderful mix of experience and new talent should make St. Bernard a contender for the division title."
Coach: Joe Cawley (9th season)
Key returnees: Sr. 3B Savannah Galluci, Sr. CF Julia Ahern.
Top newcomers: Fr. P Addie Hauptmann, C Maddie Perkins.
Outlook: The Lions are young (seven of the 15 varsity players are new to the program), but there is some returning experience in Galluci and Ahern, and a new division which should allow Wheeler to be more competitive after going 4-16 a year ago. Cawley believes a realistic goal for the Lions is making a run at qualifying for the Class S state tournament.
Coach: John Blake (15th season)
Key returnees: Sr. P-INF Erin Blake, Sr. SS Keylin Robles, Sr. OF Cassandra Beaumont, So. C Noelani Jackson, So. P-INF Samarie Delgado.
Outlook: The Eagles are very green and very inexperienced, so they’re going to need strong pitching and their underclassmen to mature quickly. “It’s a young team with a lot of hope to both develop and contend for a state playoff spot,” Blake said.
Coaches: Tim and Deb Krodel (1st season)
Key returnees: Sr. P-1B Makenzie Jones, Sr. P-1B Hannah Smith.
Top newcomers: Sr. 3B-OF Emnet Miskiewicz, So. 2B-SS Emili Fiasconaro, Jr. LF-CF Amber Hawkins, So. IF-CF Paige Phaneuf, Fr. IF Megan Dittrich, Jr. IF Stephanie Novic, Fr. IF-C Madison Tweedy, Fr. C-RF Avery Richards.
Outlook: The Krodels take over a program that went 16-4 during the 2018 regular season and won the inaugural Connecticut Technical Conference Charter Oak Division. The Warriors lose six players to graduation, but return a solid lineup that includes the 1-2 pitching punch of Jones and Smith, who should make Norwich Tech a threat to win the division again and qualify for the CTC and Class M state tournaments.
Coach: Tim Gavin (3rd season)
Key returnees: Sr. 2B Sadie Rubitski, So. SS Grace Lathrop, So. C Paige Kolesnik, Jr. CF-1B Maddie Cann, So. P Kassidy Standish, Sr. OF Catey Battalino, Sr. OF Sarah Hayward, So. 3B Alison Ward, Sr. OF-C Lilah McAndrew.
Top newcomers: Fr. P Victoria Gage, Fr. 2B Maddie Hubbard.
Outlook: The Wildcats went 13-7 a year ago, finished fourth in the Shoreline Conference and reached the second round of the Class S state tournament. Old Lyme returns its entire starting lineup with the exception of pitcher Audrey Gavin, an All-Area selection. Standish and Gage are young and untested pitchers, but they are anxious to compete and make the Wildcats a threat to qualify for the Shoreline and state postseason tournaments again.
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Stonington's George Crouse, who reached a pair of coaching milestones this spring, has been named 2019 National High School Coach of the Year in girls' tennis by the National High School Coaches Association.