"I think we're going to be very strong this year," Peiser said. "They've all been with me since they were freshmen. The pitching and hitting will be solid and the defense is always good."But, Peiser said, the key will be if her team can hit in the clutch, which was the Hilltoppers' downfall a year ago."We had a slump at the end of the year," Peiser said. "That really hurt."Senior first baseman Megan White, who is receiving looks from C.W. Post and New Haven, is one of the most dangerous hitters in the city. Laura Guzman moves from catcher to shortstop because of the graduation of Vanessa Melendez. Lisa Scheer (third base), Gina Loriggio (outfield) and Kaitlyn Smith (outfield) will all platoon in the circle, junior Danielle Marino is behind the plate, while Vicki Curran will play second, Casey McCormack will be in center and Kristin Schaubeck will play right for the Hilltoppers.Five starters are gone from the Archbishop Molloy softball team that captured its first-ever Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan and city titles, beating rival St. Francis Prep in a three-game championship series, then more Moore Catholic in the city final. But there are nine players returning from that team, including double threat Janelle Boyd, who is the Stanners' ace this year. In Molloy's annual trip to Richmond, Va., to compete in a preseason tournament, the Stanners went 2-2, with Boyd, who missed the first two weeks of the season with a pulled groin, getting both wins. Not only is Boyd an improved pitcher, but she's also one of the best power hitters in the CHSAA."She's stronger, she can pitch longer," Molloy coach Maureen Rosenbaum said. "She's in better shape and she's got more endurance."Also back for Molloy is the starting outfield of Tiffany Ott, Katie Shea and Anna DiRe, as well as Jennie Angelone at shortstop, Christina DiRe at first base and Chelsea Lopez at second. Behind the plate, junior Cheri Florio will split time with Julia Lipovac, the only sophomore on the team. Lipovac and Emily Harms will platoon at third base while Anniela Vacarro will see time at short and designated player. "If everyone is healthy, hopefully we'll do well," Rosenbaum said. "Our defense is strong, but out bats are off to a slow start. Hopefully it will pick up as the season goes on."St. Francis Prep has a very young team, but the group that includes six juniors and four sophomores is probably the most versatile in Ann Marie Rich's time as Terriers' coach. The team also boasts the best pitcher in the league in Dowling College-bound Krystil Hofmann. And that alone makes St. Francis Prep a title contender. "When she's not pitching, she can play any infield position," Rich said of Hoffman. "She asked me if she could catch and I said absolutely not."Junior first baseman Carla Pennolino is in her third year on the varsity and had the second highest batting average on last year's team. Theresa Quinn, who Rich said "has a rocket for an arm," will play right field and catch and senior Valerie Tratner moves from the outfield to shortstop to fill the void left by Nicole Bifulco, who is playing at Manhattanville. Senior Michelle Pelan will get the start at second after playing behind Hofmann and Lynn Schiano, Tiffany Beizer will start in left field, sophomore Toniann Groth will also be behind the plate and Johanna Rice and Nicole Weinman will both pitch, play third and see time in the outfield. Christ the King coach Frank Florio has one hope this year - to finally beat out Stella Maris for the fourth and final playoff berth in B/Q and make the postseason for the first time since 2002. "In three out of the five years I've been the coach Stella Maris has beaten us out for the final playoff spot on the last day," Florio said. "This year we're optimistic, we look to be competitive."A big reason for Florio's optimism is the combination of seniors and several players up from the junior varsity team that lost to St. Francis Prep in the B/Q finals. Sophomore Olivia Auman will get the start in the circle, while senior Lauren Russell, who has a combination of speed and power and who hit .368 last year, returns in center field. Domenica Marsala is back at shortstop, senior Catherine Iluzzi has a good glove at first base and junior Celine Ferguson is at third, Lisa Beutner is behind the plate and fellow junior Sabrina Paez is in the outfield.One thing is certain for Stella Maris, there's going to be a Caitlin pitching with Caitlin Garofalo and Caitlin Dasaro splitting time in the circle. "(Dasaro) is a gamer, she's not afraid to go at you and she has a multitude of pitches as well as a great fastball," Lady Flippers coach Jimmy DeAngelo said. "And (Garofalo) is a junk-ball pitcher. She has a whole arsenal of pitchers and always keeps batters off balance."Also returning for Stella Maris is Alyssa Rich, who was stellar at third base last year, Lorraine DeAngelo, the coach's daughter, returns at second and freshman Katie Gill will start at short. "We may come out of the gate slow," DeAngelo said. "But we're usually strong finishers."Starting pitchers Gabby Morales and sophomore Caitlin Nerich are back for St. John's Prep, as is Jenna Stueber at catcher, Samantha Leoutsakos at first and Stacy Diaz at shortstop. April John, Irene Bettancourt, Anja Gunderson, Melina Silverio, Lisa Aybar, Jofie Franco, and Samantha Vasquez should also compete for time for the Red Storm."We've got some tough competition this week but we are looking forward to the 2008 season," said first-year coach Maria Johnson. "The girls are putting in a lot of hard work during practice and they are showing promise. Right now we are still determining a few of the starting positions."Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at news@Times
©2008 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.