Softball Preview:

Softball Preview:

By Nelson Coffin
nelson@iaamsports.com

By the time non-league scrimmages, playdays and games are completed and conference battles begin in late March, IAAM softball squads hope to be ready to roll though the season.

John Carroll, which seemingly came out of nowhere last spring to claim its first IAAM title after going just .500 in A Conference play, looks to build even more momentum with a roster full of talented underclassmen and seasoned seniors.

Maryvale is hoping that the third time is a charm in its bid to match the three-peat the 2005-07 squads accomplished in the B Conference.

Like John Carroll, Mount Carmel is a newbie to the championship ranks after outscoring its three opponents, 38-3, in the C Conference playoffs last May.

Look out below for the lowdown on your favorite squad:

ARCHBISHOP SPALDING HIGH SCHOOL

COACH: NICKI TRUMPLER

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 10-6

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 8-2

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO JOHN CARROLL, 9-3, A CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

JUNIORS: Jordan Johnson, Angela Sena

OUTLOOK: “We are returning six starters from last years team,” Trumpler said. “Although we lost four seniors we are young and return nine players from last year’s roster. The IAAM A Conference continues to get stronger each year and we hope to be in the running for a chance at the championship. We also have a very tough out-of-conference schedule, arguably one of the toughest in the state. “

That’s why the Cavaliers will lean heavily on Johnson, an outfielder who hit .403 with a dozen RBIs and 11 steals, and Sena, a catcher with a .361 batting mark, .557 slugging percentage and 17 RBIs.

FRIENDS SCHOOL

COACH: KEN ZALIS

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 8-4

2017 C CONFERENCE RECORD: 3-3

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL, 8-3, C CONFERENCE FINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Katie Capizzi, Tyler Rifkin, Lucy Meigs

SOPHOMORE: Julia Parker

OUTLOOK: “We have six returning starters and nine returning players from the 2017 team that lost in the championship game,” Zalis said. “And we expect big things in 2018.”

Capizzi is a shortstop/catcher who hit a formidable .700 last spring while Rifkin cam play either short or second.

Both were All-Conference performer, as was Meigs in the outfield. Zalis said that she is one of the most consistent players in the field and at the plate in the league.

Parker will pitch for the Quakers.

“Last year they played their best softball at the end of the year, and we hope to build on that in 2018,” Zalis added. “We are very excited to get started. Last year didn’t finish like I wanted it to. I thought we had a shot to win it all and the girls really rallied around me. This year I want them to win for them. We are finding our groove each day at practice and look forward to a good season.”

JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL

COACH: SHERRY HUDSON

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 10-7

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 5-5

2017 FINAL GAME: BEAT MOUNT DE SALES ACADEMY, 7-2, A CONFERENCE FINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Meghan Sheehan, Alyssa Ryerson

JUNIORS: Emma Kropkowski, Sarah Spaeth, Shannon Sweeney

SOPHOMORES: Kate Gromacki, Emma Ritter, Courtney Hartman, Jules Donnelly

FRESHMEN: Kyleigh Waugh, Katie Levey

OUTLOOK: Kropkowski’s pitching prowess has carried JC the past two years, according to Hudson, and will do so again this year with some help from Waugh, who also has a strong bat.

“Senior Meghan Sheehan will be our leader emotionally and physically,” Hudson said. “She is our left-handed leadoff slapper, who had a .631 on base percentage and .538 batting average. She also led the team in steals with 28.”

The infield will be be anchored by Spaeth at third base and Ryerson at second. Catching duties will go to Donnelly, who was a starter and major contributor as a freshman. The slugging Ritter, who had a team-best .643 batting average and 36 RBIs as a freshman, will patrol center field with Sweeney (.464) also manning a spot in the outfield.

“We should also see major contributions from Katie Levey, Kate Gromacki and Courtney Hartman,” Hudson concluded.

MARYVALE PREPARATORY SCHOOL

COACH: TERRI MOESER

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 10-3

2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 7-2

2017 FINAL GAME: BEAT ROLAND PARK COUNTRY SCHOOL, 12-9, B CONFERENCE FINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Laura Marsico, Julia Harman, Kellie Heslen

SOPHOMORES: Riley Vicendese, Karen Ackerman, Lyssa Kagel

OUTLOOK: “With the loss of five starters from last year’s championship team, this year’s team is excited for the challenge of the upcoming season,” Moeser said.

To that end, the Lions will have Ackerman in the circle when she’s not playing second base with Vicendese at short and Heslen behind the plate.

Marisco, Harman and Kagel will patrol the outfield.

MCDONOGH SCHOOL

COACH: JOHN FOLFAS

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 9-8

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 7-3

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO MOUNT DE SALES ACADEMY, 7-4, A CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

JUNIORS: Madison Gemmill, Lauren Fish

SOPHOMORES: Kearstyn Chapman, Ruby Jocelyn, Carsyn Belanger

OUTLOOK: “We should be once again very competitive this year with a strong non-conference schedule and the addition of several incoming freshmen, who have an immediate impact on our play,” Folfas said. “We have 16 players out for the team this year. We have two seniors and six freshmen. So, this team is very young, but return six starters with others having varsity experience.”

Gemmill, a catcher who was nominated as one of the Baltimore Sun’s players to watch last year, just verbally committed to Virginia Tech after batting .392 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 2017.

Chapman pitched the majority of games last year and batted .300 while second baseman Jocelyn batted .367 last year.

“I’m excited that our program continues to grow and draw talented local players,” Folfas added. “I look forward to challenging the top teams in the area.”

MERCY HIGH SCHOOL

COACH: BOB KORDECKI

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 5-6

2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 5-4

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO ROLAND PARK COUNTRY SCHOOL, 16-15, B CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIOR: Kayla Szczybor

JUNIOR: Kari Maygers

SOPHOMORE: Claire Geier

OUTLOOK: With Szczybor at first and Maygers at short, the Magic has anchors in the infield like it does in the outfield with Geier.

“Even though we will be a young team this season, we are expecting to be in contention,” Kordecki said.

MOUNT DE SALES ACADEMY

COACH: KENNY MAGERSUPP

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 13-8

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 7-3

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL, 7-2, A CONFERENCE FINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIOR: Karlee Stocksdale

JUNIORS: Alli Cluster, Olivia Davidson, Lyndsey Tolle

SOPHOMORE: Laurna Heathcott

OUTLOOK: New coach Kenny Magersupp is dialed in to the local softball scene, so the Sailors should continue to be contenders in the rugged A Conference again this season.

With five standouts, such as Stocksdale at short, Davidson at third, Heathcott in center, Cluster behind the plate and Tolle in the circle, the nucleus for a top team is already in place.

After all, Stocksdale hit nearly .450 last spring and Cluster and Davidson weren’t far behind at .370 each, so the lineup is solid.

Heathcott chipped in as well, hitting .333 with five doubles, a homer and nine RBIs.

And Tolle won 13 games last year, giving the Sailors a reliable ace.

“I've built the toughest non conference schedule Mount De Sales has ever seen, we've been to the championship game five straight years, and that is always the goal,” Magersupp, the Sailors’ former hitting coach, said. “We've talked about challenging ourselves to play the best and get better every time we take the field and the kids have worked hard in the off season to do just that.”

NOTRE DAME PREPARATORY SCHOOL

COACH: EMILY LESSNER

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 5-8

2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 3-5

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO ST. PAUL’S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, 16-3, B CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Gabie Christy, Taylor Connell

OUTLOOK: Almost half (6) of the Blazers’ roster will be freshman, so it could be a roller coaster ride for Lessner and company until things become more settled.

Christy, a standout soccer goalie headed to McNeese State, will use her quick reflexes to play shortstop while Connell in an outfield mainstay.

“The seven returning are juniors and seniors which should round out my starters with some experience,” Lessner said. “I am hopeful for a winning season, as It will be the second season since we have moved back to B conference where we are most competitive. Last year was an adjustment playing teams for the first time in B conference, so I think seeing them again we should have a better knowledge of our competition.”

OLDFIELDS SCHOOL

COACH: GABBY DAVIS

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 1-6

2017 C CONFERENCE RECORD: 1-5

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO PARK, C CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

JUNIORS: Faith Rhodes, Azaria Ford, Olivia Morris

SOPHOMORE: Cassie Hensley

FRESHMAN: Katie Mather

OUTLOOK: The infield looks solid with Rhodes, Ford and Morris. Hensley has locked down a spot in the outfield and Mather will work from the circle for first-year coach Davis.

“We have a great group this year and we are very excited,” she said.

OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

COACH: LINDA MCGUINESS

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 10-4

2017 C CONFERENCE RECORD: 6-1

2017 FINAL GAME: BEAT FRIENDS, 8-3, C CONFERENCE FINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIOR: Taylor Baldwin

JUNIORS: Ashley Conway, Carmen Pusateri, Alex Reynolds

SOPHOMORES: Alyssa Hawes, Alex Snodgrass

OUTLOOK: The Cougars will be very strong up the middle again with Baldwin (C), Pusateri (SS) and Conway (CF) leading the charge.

Add Snodgrass at first and Reynolds as a utility specialist, and the foundation for another crown is well in place.

“Our team is looking to build on the success of its last two seasons,” McGuiness said. “With the talent we have returning and the talent we have added to our roster, we will definitely be competitors and looking to repeat our championship from 2017.”

ROLAND PARK COUNTRY SCHOOL

COACH: LINDA BOURNE

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 9-4

2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 6-3

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO MARYVALE PREPARATORY SCHOOL 8-3, B CONFERENCE FINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIOR: Caitlin Ellwange

SOPHOMORE: Sade' Johnson

OUTLOOK: The Reds will rely heavily on Ellwanger’s bat (.625 average, .712 on base and 19 RBIs) and glove at shortstop for the fourth consecutive season.

Meanwhile, Johnson’s speed flychasing in center field and on the basepaths (11 steals) coupled with a .520 batting average give Roland Park another outstanding player for opponents to fret about.

“We had a great year last season,” Bourne said. “Going to the championship game our first year in the conference was unbelievable. We had eight seniors graduate last year, so there will be some new faces on the field for RPCS. We are very excited with the talent that we have this year."

ST. JOHN’S CATHOLIC PREP

COACH: KEVIN SMITH

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 8-6

2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 4-5

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO MARYVALE PREPARATORY SCHOOL 4-0, B CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Morgan Dombroski, Xanthi Limber

JUNIORS: Katie Adams, Amber Ennis, Bailey Martini, Mary Whittington

SOPHOMORES: Christian Curlett, Emily Snellings

FRESHMEN: Maddy Dukes, Addy Suit, Sky Sarmiento

OUTLOOK: The Vikings’ keystone combo of Dombroski at short and Ennis at second will lend some solid glovework behind Adams in the circle and Whittington behind the plate.

Limber figures to handle the hot corner while Martini, Snellings, Dukes, Suit and Sarmiento will fill other positions.

“With so many new players we hope to compete and improve with each game,” Smith said.

ST. TIMOTHY’S SCHOOL

COACH: REBECCA DIBIASI

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 2-5-1

2017 C CONFERENCE RECORD: 2-4

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO FRIENDS SCHOOL 24-9, C CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Kapya Kollin, Ciera Bryan, Ciara Rook, Kimora Dimanche

JUNIOR: Gwen Van Doren

SOPHOMORES: Yejin Han and Olivia Ibeh

OUTLOOK: Kollin will pitch for St. Tim’s or play third base when Van Doren, who also plays center field, isn’t in the circle.

Han and Ibeh will split catching duties while Rook and Dimanche add depth to the lineup.

“With solid leadership, eleven returners, and a strong cohort of promising young players, the team confidently approaches the upcoming season,” DiBiasi said.