2013 High School Softball Preview: New Faces

Coaching experience will be in short supply for the area’s softball teams this season as just three teams head into the season with coaches who have more than four years under their belts.

Broadalbin-Perth, Dolgeville, Fort Plain, Mayfield and St. Johnsville all welcome new coaches this season, while Amsterdam, Canajoharie and Gloversville all have coaches with three or fewer years at the helm.

Harrie Washburn, who coached the B-P baseball team from 1987-1990, will take over the softball team this season, becoming the third coach in as many seasons for the Lady Patriots.

St. Johnsville will be coached by Hillary Cool, who previously coached at Mayfield, while Dolgeville and Fort Plain will be coached by Sarah Flint and Crystallee Quell, respectively.

Fonda-Fultonville’s Kari MacDougall and Wells’ Dayna Fisher are the area’s longest tenured coaches as they each head into their 14th seasons. Johnstown’s Ron Savoie opted to return for his ninth season after initially stepping down at the end of last season.

Washburn takes over a Broadalbin-Perth team that went 4-15 overall last season and 3-11 in Foothills Council play.

The Lady Patriots return two seniors – Kristina Fletcher (first base) and Caitlin Rasefske (catcher) – from last year’s team, as well as junior shortstop Rachel Orapello and sophomore pitcher Nicole Traver. Orapello, Traver and Rasefske all earned honorable-mention status on last year’s Foothills Council all-star team.

Lauren Adamchick, Briana Westfall, Courtney Oare, Ciarra Dickson, Keyana Fariello, Kristina Fletcher, Clara Halloran, Jessica Kulzer, Sofia Miron, Megan Morreale and Fanny Willieme round out the B-P roster.

“We have a young team in hopes of getting back to sectionals,” Washburn said. “We have more team speed this year.”

B-P is scheduled to host Mayfield in its season opener Thursday at 2 p.m.

Like Broadalbin-Perth, Mayfield will have its third coach in as many years as Jamie Hurd takes over for Cool, who took over for Brittany Tomek in St. Johnsville.

Hurd inherits a squad that features plenty of returning talent. Leading that group is senior pitcher Anna Husain, who was named a Section II all-star and the Western Athletic Conference North Division Most Valuable Player as a junior. Husain had 121 strikeouts in 127 innings last season for the Lady Panthers, who finished 12-8 overall and 9-3 in WAC North play. Husain also hit .375 for Mayfield.

Also back are seniors Nicole Little and Jen Little. Nicole Little was named a WAC first-team all-star, while Jen Little was named a second-team WAC all-star. Nicole Little hit .361 for the Lady Panthers last season.

“After coming off a strong finish in the league last season, we look to be competitive again this year,” Hurd said. “We return eight solid players, including first-team WAC all-stars Anna Husain and Nicole Little, and second-team all-star Jen Little.”

Rounding out the returnees are senior Lisa Hime, senior Taylor Gifford, junior Mackenzie Biggers, junior Kiera Davis and freshman Maria Messina.

Newcomers Kelsey Burton, Lyndsey Barber, Caitlin Tomlinson, Heather Geier and Julie Hampton round out the Mayfield roster.

“Behind our strong pitching, led by Section II all-star and WAC North MVP Anna Husain, we hope to contend,” Hurd said. We have the talent to make good things happen. As a team, we are looking very strong. I expect us to do very well.”

After coaching Mayfield to a runner-up finish in the WAC North Division last season, Cool will take over at St. Johnsville this season.

The Lady Saints went 10-8 overall and 7-5 in WAC North play last season.

Sophomores Leann Knapp and Rylie Smith lead the returnees for the Lady Saints.

Smith was a first-team WAC North all-star last season, while Knapp was a second-team all-star.

Samantha LaCoppola, Kirsten Raux, Mackenzie Ferguson, Marissa Nellis, Samantha Mumford, Megan Bradt, Samantha Cleveland, Carly Eckler and Aryn Feagles round out the St. Johnsville roster.

“This season is the end of an era for the Lady Saints. Next year, the district merged and will be operating under a new name, mascot and colors,” Cool said. “Knowing this, the Lady Saints are determined to proudly represent their school this last season. I think this team has a lot of potential. The majority of the team is very young and very coachable. With hard work and discipline, I believe we will steal some wins in the WAC.”

St. Johnsville is scheduled to open its season Tuesday at Cherry Valley-Springfield.

Fort Plain also will have a new coach at the helm this season as Quell takes over for Katie McCumber, who led the Lady Hilltoppers to a 14-6 overall record and a 10-2 WAC North mark.

Quell inherits several returnees for last year’s WAC North Division championship team.

That group includes seniors Jamie Fredericks, Allehah VanLoan, Jenna Barhydt and Erin Nellis,

Also back are junior Abby Boyer, freshman Kendra Trembley, sophomore Shawna Cotton and junior Haley Kilmartin.

Fredericks, Boyer and Barhydt all were named first-team WAC North all-stars last season, while VanLoan and Trembley earned second-team honors.

Kilmartin returns this season after missing last season with a torn ACL.

Newcomers Brianna Florian, Brandy Walters, Erin Telfer, Mackenzie Stevens, Alexis Hagadorn and Sierra Logan complete the Fort Plain roster.

“We are looking forward to a growing season. The players will be learning a lot this season utilizing new offensive and defensive techniques,” Quell said. “Hopefully, this will be a productive and successful season for all of our players.”

Fort Plain is scheduled to host Canajoharie on Thursday in its season opener.

Completing the quintet of first-year coaches is Flint, who takes over a Dolgeville team which went 2-8 in Center State Conference play last season.

Flint’s roster features just nine players, including returnees Courtney Rachon, Tereza VanOlst and Danielle DiCamillo.

Rachon earned Center State Conference Division II honorable-mention status last season.

Mercedes Rumrill, Taylor Brandow, Cheyanne Sullivan, Amanda Carpenter, Dawn Mosher and Abby Mosenthin round out the Blue Devils’ roster.

“For the varsity team this year, we are all about unifying our team. We are starting new this year with a new coach and a new great group of girls,” Flint said. “They are all passionate about softball and have a true love for the game. They work hard in the classroom and in practice. We have a very focused group of athletes. We are all looking forward to a successful season with our team moving forward in a positive direction.”

Gloversville’s Bruce Bump and Amsterdam’s Brenden Cetnar both enter their second seasons as head coach in 2013.

Bump’s squad will be looking to improve upon its 2-18 overall record and 0-14 Foothills Council mark from last season.

“I’m expecting much more from the team this year,” Bump said. “The girls are working hard on the fundamentals and are looking for more success in the Foothills Council games this year.”

The Huskies lost Ashley Kennedy, Jessica Benton, Madaline DiMarco, Katlyn Pierce and Ashley Young from last year’s team. Pierce and Young were named honorable-mention Foothills Council all-stars last season.

Senior Alexis Capasso, a second-team Foothills all-star last season, leads a large group of seven seniors on the Gloversville roster.

The large group of seniors also includes Ashley Kazala, Ashley Funk, Nikki DeMarco, Natalie Ozea, Jess DeVoe and Ashley Ostrander.

Rounding out the Gloversville roster will be Samantha Stewart, Shawna Funk, Brooke Washburn, Emily Towne and Megan Patterson.

Gloversville is schedule to travel to Albany on Wednesday for its season opener.

Like Gloversville, Amsterdam lost several players from last season’s team.

Amanda Mullarkey, Courtney Rosser, Victoria Vogel and Aelyn Romelski all contributed for the Lady Rams last season. Mullarkey hit .300 for Amsterdam and Rosser hit. 286.

Amsterdam, which went 6-12 overall, returns Ashley Pryzyblowicz who led the team with a .508 batting average last season. Pryzyblowicz also was named a first-team Big 10 all-star.

Also back are Bayley Archinal, Jordann Bernardo, Amanda Bieniek, Brittany DuRose, Rebecca Gardenier, Meagan Little, Michela Puglisi and Hannah Cronk.

Archinal, who hit .377, was named an honorable-mention Big 10 all-star last season.

Rounding out the roster are newcomers Stephanie DeLorenzo, Amber Richardson and Tessa Filiberto.

“All of the players are excited and ready to get back to playing. We are a year older and stronger, and should be able to improve on last year’s record,” Cetnar said. “While it’s never easy to replace key graduating seniors, our returning players and newcomers are ready for the challenge.”

Amsterdam is scheduled to open the season Monday at Johnstown.

After making a run to the Section II Class A semifinals last season, Johnstown has plenty of holes to fill in its lineup.

MaryBeth DeCuyke, Gabby Hale, Brynn Hlozansky, Alyssa LaLonde and Lindsay Achzet all graduated after leading the Lady Bulls to a 12-9 overall record and a 9-5 Foothills Council mark.

Batterymates LaLonde (pitcher) and Hlozansky (catcher) were both named first-team Foothills Council all-stars, while DeCuyke and Achzet earned second-team honors. Hale was named to the honorable-mention team.

Johnstown returns Jordyn Hale, Abby Ovitt, Lindsay Brandt, Alexis Swatt, Morgan Colasanti and Ellen Praught from last year’s team.

Newcomers Jackie Clayburn, Ieasha Lopez-Gonzalez, Alyssa Palmateer, Maddy Dillenbeck, Bobbette, Meghan LeDoux and Briana Esposito complete the Johnstown roster.

“This group is really looking forward to the start of the season. The past few years, we have been very good,” Savoie said. “I’m looking forward to see how some of young players react to playing at varsity level. As a whole, we want to improve game by game.”

Like Savoie, MacDougall will be looking to replace her starting pitcher from last season as Fonda-Fultonville lost Sami Fraser to graduation.

The Lady Braves also lost Kate Simons and Cristen Monty to graduation.

Despite the losses, the cupboard is not bare at FFCS as Courtney Putnam, Sam Hart, Jenna Hutchins, Meghan Foy, Danielle Clifford, Cassandra Egelston, Monica Derby, Cory Lais and Emily Parslow all return.

The Lady Braves, who went 7-11 overall and 4-10 in Colonial Council play last season, also get Emily Frollo back after she missed last season with a knee injury.

Allyson Putnam is the lone newcomer for FFCS this season.

“Preseason has been intense with a great group of girls working diligently to get ready for the season,” MacDougall said. “The girls are looking to make a statement and get back to sectional play where they belong.”

FFCS is scheduled to open its season April 8 at Albany Academy.

Like MacDougall, Fisher is heading into her 14th season as Wells coach.

The Lady Indians went 2-11 last season and lost Desi Gallup, Shelby Hoffman, Karlie Tomlinson, Lizzy Speece and Jessica Rhodes from last year’s team.

Tomlinson was named a first-team Mountain and Valley Athletic Conference Division II all-star last season.

“I will be looking for the players to improve game by game as a team,” Fisher said. “We are going to have several players in new fielding positions this year, so we’ll have to be patient.

Samantha Zemken, Brittany Woodward, Bobbi Jo Page and Chelsea Simons all return from last year’s team for Wells.

Newcomers Breanna Mayer, Veronica Stone, Alora Longenecker, Alex Brenan, Maigen Wilson and Kaeli Brenan complete the Wells roster.

“We need to work hard in practice and be supportive of one another, so that we can improve skills, come together as a unit on the field and become a more competitive team on the softball diamond,” Fisher said. “It’s a great group of girls to work with, and I look forward to watching how they progress throughout the season.”

Entering her third season as Canajoharie coach, Bridget Anderson finds herself with several spots to fill in her lineup.

Mackenzie Stahler, Katerina Tsampasis, Allyssa Kilmartin and Sylvia McFarlane were lost to graduation after helping last year’s team to a 9-7 overall record and an 8-4 mark in the WAC South Division.

Stahler was named a first-team WAC South all-star, while McFarlane earned second-team honors.

Shyanna Logan, Lauren Balfe, Brianna Slater, Morgan Gray, Megan Balfe, Brittany Pitonza and Mackenzie Stock all return for the Lady Cougars this season.

Logan was named a first-team WAC South all-star, while Balfe and Slater earned second-team honors.

Newcomers Taylor Fancher, Dainara Veeder, Lauren Mayer, Katie Towse, Emma Stortecky, Kayla Bowerman complete the Canajoharie roster.

“We have a solid core of returning players mixed with a group of athletic underclassmen making up the team,” Anderson said. “This team as a whole is very athletic and quick.”