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After a long winter break from the diamond, the ladies of the PSAL softball circuit will open the 2008 season on March 24 when the Lincoln lady Railsplitters will travel to Bay Ridge to face the Fort Hamilton lady Tigers in Brooklyns A Division opening day game. As for the rest of the Brooklyn A Division, teams will commence play on March 25. Madison Knights- Last season, the Madison lady Knights were arguably the best team in the division and the borough. In 2008, they will not have the Big Three that was part of the success in recent seasons: pitcher Jamie OBrien, third baseman Danielle Maresca, and centerfield/short stop Jessica Liberto. First, the graduation of OBrien is the biggest blow to this squad. The hurler was terrific in her first season as the teams ace, posting a 9-1 record with an untouchable 0.36 ERA while fanning 75. At the plate, she batted a .667 BA with 12 HR and 58 RBI. Maresca and Liberto combined for a .597 BA, 4 HR, and 43 RBI. With the departure of 101 RBI, the lady Knights will need to rebound fast in this competitive division. Coming into spring training, sophomore tosser, Marie Oneto will look upon to fill in the role as ace. If we look at her 2007 stats, Madison will have no problem in going back to the finals this season. Slotted as the teams number two pitcher, in 2007, Oneto posted a 6-1, 1.75 ERA while striking out 52 batters. As for the offense, junior Nikki Panaro will be sought after to put on a repeat performance of a season ago. In 07, the sophomore batted .414 with two dingers and 26 RBI. The combo of Oneto and Panaro will be extremely lethal as the Knights are longing for that long sought after championship. New Utrecht Utes- After finishing second with a record of 12-5, the New Utrecht lady Utes rebounded terrifically after posting a 3-11 finishing in 2006, as they went to the playoffs. But they were immediately eliminated by Madison, 14-3 in the first round. In 2008, they will look to re-tool as ace pitcher Roseann Rodriguez graduated. But the team will have pitcher Lisa Morro on the hill as ace. The senior, last season, posted a 3-2, 1.75 ERA record, as the teams second starter. While she has the presence on the mound, her bat will be counted on, as she batted .455 with two homeruns and 20 RBI in 07. With a majority of the team returning and a huge senior presence on the roster, there is no doubt that the Utes can make another strong showing for the division crown but they must beat Madison. In three meetings last season, the lady Knights outscored them, 44-8 and were 0-3. Lincoln Railsplitters- With the departure of short stop/pitcher Angelina Martinezs 67 strikeouts, the Lincoln lady Railsplitters will need a huge stopper if they want a shot at winning the division. They will count on junior pitcher Sabrina Aponte to be that stopper for this campaign. Last season, the number two starter posted a 2-2 record while fanning six. The problem for Aponte was her high 13.56 earned run average but for Lincoln to return to the playoffs and be successful, they will need Aponte to come up big. On the offense side of the ball, the Splitters will need Lucy Lin (.487, 1 HR, 8 RBI) to contributed the same numbers as she did last season. Midwood Hornets- The lady Hornets will look to clinch a third straight playoff berth in 08 but can they do it without mainstays- C Lesley Rider, pitcher/first baseman/outfielder Samantha Ortiz and short stop Megan McKenna? With Ortiz leaving, the Hornets will suffer a sting, both on the mound and at the plate. The versatile star batted a .544 with 36 RBI, while on the hill, she tossed to the tune of a 7-4, 5.39 record. As McKenna, her offensive numbers will be missed, as her .577 BA and 16 RBI, will not be in this 08 lineup. Finally, the final blow comes with Rider graduating; her team-leading .564 BA and 18 RBI will be sorely sought after. For the 2008 campaign, Midwood will hand the aces role to sophomore hurler Traci Kent. Behind Ortiz, she was 3-2 and had an 8.31 ERA. Coming into Spring Training, the job for Kent to take over the aces role is hers to loose. On offense, the lady Hornets will look to OF/C Brittany Hinds. The versatile backstop, last season, had a .250 BA with nine RBI. But she will step into the starters role calling the signals with the departure of Rider. Grand Street Campus Wolves- It was just two seasons ago, that the lady Wolves were an undefeated 11-0 in the B Division. After being promoted to the A Division last season, Grand Street was only able to rack up three victories. Despite having limited success in their inaugural season in the boroughs most competitive division, they will look to senior LF Janice Ortiz for a last howl at a playoff season. Last season, Ortiz batted .341 while knocking out three dingers and driving in six runs, her lowest stat totals in every category of her high school career. For the lady Wolves, they will need Ortiz to find the magic of two seasons ago, where she batted a .538 BA, 5 HR, and 14 RBI, the best of high school career. Canarsie Chiefs- Like Grand Street, the Canarsie lady Chiefs were an undefeated 14-0 and went to the third round of the playoffs in 2006 in the B Division. But last season, Canarsie squeaked out only one victory in 18 regular season games. For Canarsie to regain the magic of two seasons ago, they will need a huge season from P Ashley Elam. For the past two seasons, Elam has hit a huge snag, posting mediocre numbers for the past two seasons- .142 BA, 15 RBI, and two HR far away from her freshman stats of 2005, where she had a .348 BA and 11 RBI. For the lady Chiefs to be successful, they would need Elam to derail her slide and post up the 2005 stats that she did, three seasons ago. The question now is, can she? Fort Hamilton Tigers- After a huge setback in 2006 (1-14 record), the Fort Hamilton lady Tigers showed plenty of resiliency last season by setting the bar at 9-8 and going back to the playoffs. But they were immediately knocked-out, as they were picked-off in the preliminary round by Port Richmond. This season, Fort Hamilton will look to do the same as they will have ace pitcher Mariam Awad take the reigns once again. Last season, the senior went 4-6 while tossing to a league-low 0.12 ERA. But the lady Tigers will need Awad to get a few more wins, accompanied by her extremely impressive un-hittable ERA, for this team to rattle Madisons cage for the division.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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