2014 High School Softball Preview: Ready and Waiting
When the winter-like weather finally breaks, the local high school softball teams will be ready to make some noise in both their respective leagues and sectional tournaments.
All three of the local Foothills Council teams – Gloversville, Johnstown and Broadalbin-Perth – have new coaches this season and will be looking to break out of the bottom half of the league standings.
Stephanie Luce takes over a Gloversville Huskies team that lost seven players to graduation including Foothills second-team all-star Alexis Capasso. The Huskies will look to the experience of pitchers Sam Stewart and Emily Towne and returning seniors Brooke Washburn, Shawna Funk and Katelyn Pierce to improve on last year’s 4-14 season.
Brittany Tomek moves into the head coaching position at Johnstown after assisting Ron Savoie last year.
Although the Lady Bills lost five players to graduation, including second-team all-star Alexis Swatt, they return eight players with varsity experience including Briana Esposito and Ellen Praught who both earned Foothills honorable mention status in 2013.
The Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots will be guided by Carrie Spraker who moves up from coaching the junior varsity last season.
The Lady Patriots finished fifth in the Foothills last year and return veteran pitchers Nicole Traver and Lauren Adamchick and Foothills first-team all-star Rachel Orapello.
Mayfield captured the Western Athletic Conference North title last year but lost major contributors to the Lady Panthers’ success in pitcher Anna Husain (WAC North co-MVP, first team Section II All-Star, Class C fifth team all-state), third baseman Nicole Little (first team all-star), shortstop Lisa Hime (second team all-star) and catcher Jennifer Little.
Senior Mackenzie Biggers (first team all-star) leads a group of veteran players including seniors Lyndsey Barber and Kiera Davis.
After a five-year hiatus, Don Stockwell returns to the helm of the Fort Plain Lady Hilltoppers who finished second to Mayfield in the WAC North last year.
Fort Plain also will be looking for a new pitcher, as veteran pitcher and first-team all-star Jamie Fredericks graduated.
Shauna Cotton is expected to take over in the circle for the Lady Hilltoppers, who also return WAC North first-team all-stars Abby Boyer and Kendra Trembley and second-team all-star Haley Kilmartin to the line up.
Bridget Anderson returns for her fourth season as coach at Canajoharie High School and will look to the experience of first-team all star seniors Lauren Balfe and Brianna Slater and second-team all star seniors Morgan Gray and Shyanna Logan to lead a team with eight sophomores, three freshmen and one junior on the roster.
Dan Hart, who guided the St. JOE softball team to the Section II Class C semifinals in 2011, returns to the dugout for the Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville Lady Wolves. OESJ returns five players with varsity experience including Leanne Clark, Samantha Mumford, Meghan Bradt, Samantha LaCoppola and Marrissa Nellis.
According to Fonda-Fultonville coach Kari MacDougall, the Lady Braves are loaded with potential as they look to improve on their 7-9 Colonial Council record.
The Lady Braves are led by Colonial Council second-team all star senior Cassandra Egelston along with fellow upperclassmen Monica Derby, Cory Lais and junior Allyson Putnam.
The Brenden Cetnar-coached Amsterdam Lady Rams will look to the returning battery of pitcher Michela Puglisi and catcher Ashley Przybylowicz to lead them in their final season in the Big 10.
Puglisi pitched three shutouts and a perfect game last season for Amsterdam, while striking out 104 batters and held opponents to three or fewer runs in her 18 starts. Przybylowicz led the team with a .550 batting average, five home runs and 29 RBIs.
The Dolgeville Lady Blue Devils will be coached for the second-straight year by Sarah Flint and return a strong group of veterans including Taylor Brandow, Courtney Rachon, Mercedes Rumrill, Cheyanne Sullilvan and Amanda Carpenter.
Low numbers hurt the Wells Lady Indians last year as they posted a winless season. Ed Pruden takes over at the helm for Wells and will look to veterans Chelsea Simmons, Samantha Zemken, Kaeli Brenan, Alex Brenan, Breanna Mayer, Maigen Wilson and Alora Longendecker to break the winless streak.