Berkshire County high school softball preview capsules, 2017
Coach: Morgan Shafer (First year)
Last year: 7-11
Key returnees: Maya Howland, senior; Anna Dix, sophomore; Kasey Sondrini, senior
Outlook: Former Hoosac Valley coach Morgan Shafer is hoping a new approach will help her young players achieve their goals this season.
The Blue Devils lost seven seniors and have three seniors returning this season. Howland brings experience to the circle as the No. 1 pitching option. Senior Sondrini is a veteran behind the plate and Dix has catching experience as well. Junior Mackenzie McGuire (first base), sophomores Caitlyn Tatro (second base), Cassandra Crosier (shortstop) and McKenna Pevey (third base) round out the infield. Senior Kendra Gallagher returned to the team and will man one outfield spot. Sophomore Abby Lear and eighth grader Caroline Cellana will also have spots in the outfield. Tessa Zoito, Jacqueline Moulton and Elissa Senecal will fill in at various spots.
With several young players at key spots, Shafer said she's excited to build a strong foundation for the future of the program.
Coach: June Blake (Seventh year)
Last year: 8-10.
Key returnees: Olivia DiNicola, senior; Fiona Kelley, senior; Elena Cerveira, junior.
Outlook: Mount Greylock returns a veteran squad that's looking to return to the Western Massachusetts tournament after failing to earn a postseason berth last season.
Kelley brings three years of experience to the circle for the Mounties. Her confidence helps the entire team play at a high level. DiNicola returns to receive Kelley, and Elena Cerveira brings slick fielding to the short stop position. Kayla Cerveira will play first base. Seniors Carly Munzer (third base) and Grace Dodig (second base) round out the infield. The Mounties will be experienced in the outfield as will, with Hailey Guest in center and Rachel Voller in left. The right field spot is still up for grabs.
Blake said her senior-heavy squad wants to leave its mark and achieve its goals this season. She said that starts with strong defense and improved consistency on offense and defense.
Coach: Greg Marchbanks (Seventh year)
Last year: 20-2, lost in Western Massachusetts D-I semifinals.
Key returnees: Hayley Tobin, junior; Erin Murphy, senior; Giuliana Pierce, junior.
Outlook: Pittsfield returns a young, but talented team that must try to replace two-time All-Eagle MVP Allie Hunt's high-level production on the offense and defense. Tobin is a proven run-producer and solid defender behind the plate. Pierce will take over the top spot in the circle after splitting time with Emily Koldys last season.
Murphy and Alex Desrochers bring plenty experience as the lone seniors on the team. Britney Perkett uses her speed to cause fits on the base paths and to cover ground in the outfield. Natasha Shade and Abby Santos will contribute as well.
Coach: Kevin Harrington (Seventh year)
Last year: 10-11, lost in Western Massachusetts D-I first round.
Key returnees: Ashley Keegan, senior; Kailey Bell, senior; Janee Walker, senior; Chloe Wood, senior.
Outlook: Taconic is returning an experienced, senior-heavy team with its sights set on returning to the Western Mass. tournament.
Keegan is the No. 1 pitching option and one of the best pitchers in Western Mass. Bell returns at catcher to receive the Braves' hard-throwing hurler. Walker brings a strong arm to the hot corner and junior Aubrey Lazits is a strong all-around player at second base. Rebecca Herbert (first base) and freshman Addison Lyon (shortstop) round out the infield. Sophomore Taylor Ostrander will be in center field. Chloe Wood and Morgan Rayfield will also have spots in the outfield. Jenyka Osallino brings speed the base paths as well.
Coach: Dustin Belcher (Ninth year)
Last year: 15-6, lost in Western Massachusetts D-II quarterfinals.
Key returnees: Allie Borowsky, senior; Jess Warren, junior; Ashley Zink, senior.
Outlook: Wahconah returns a deep team that's looking to make a run at a Western Mass. title. Borowsky returns in the circle for the Warriors, bringing four years of varsity experience with her. Belcher said Borowsky's poise and leadership in the circle sets a good example for her younger teammates.
Ashley Zink moves to shortstop to replace Chloe Warren. Kelly McMahon or freshman Abby Wells will fill Juli McBain's spot in center field.
O'Connor returns at first base. Strong-armed Warren returns at catcher. Sophomore Nicole Trova will take over at second base. Sophomore Rachel Kays and freshman Jess Duma will contribute as well. Belcher said he has confidence in his entire roster. He added that strong defense will be the calling card for this year's team.
Coach: Mike Ameen (Third year)
Last year: 14-8, lost to Turners Falls in Western Massachusetts D-III championship.
Key returnees: Kali Puppolo, senior; Alyssa Pause, senior; Haley Adelt, senior.
Outlook: Hoosac Valley returns 10 players from last year's team that was one win away from a Division III title. The Hurricanes battery of Puppolo and Pause return for one last year. Pause may see some time in the outfield as well. Juniors Gabby Vincent and Abby Jamros return at second base and center field, respectively. Logan Stanfield gained valuable experience at short stop last year as an eighth grader. Adelt has experience at third base as well. Young players Liz Levesque, Maddie Karen, Rylie Bishop, Kayla Tatro, Syrah Bradley, Kelsey Wehrle and Katie Braman will contribute as well.
Ameen said last year's trip the the championship game should give the team confidence and allow them to be mentally prepared once the season starts.
Coach: Harold "Herby" Heath (First year)
Last year: 8-12
Key returnees: Makayla Hopkins, senior; Anna Jeffries, senior; Kaylinn Kingsley, senior.
Outlook: Heath is taking over as the Wildcats' head coach after spending two years coaching the junior varsity. The 'Cats will have a young team this season, but Heath said the group has been extremely hard working so far. Kingsley will take over the short stop position. Sarah Cook will man the hot corner. Makayla Hopkins will also have a spot in the infield. Jeffries will have a spot in the outfield. Several spots, including the team's top pitcher will be decided once the season is underway.
Heath said the goal is to get back to Western Mass. after missing the tournament last season.
Coach: Chris O'Brien (First year)
Last year: 4-15
Key returnees: Molly O'Brien, senior; Anna Lynch, junior; Hannah Sibley, senior.
Outlook: O'Brien starts his first year as the Millionaires head coach with a eager group of young players. O'Brien served as an assistant coach with the program for four years, and he's watched his young players develop into experienced upperclassmen. In addition to increased development, he said the program's ability to field a junior varsity team for the first time in several years makes practice more competitive and gives the underclassmen a place to play consistently. Lynch and O'Brien bring experience to the circle and behind the plate, respectively. Sibley will also see time in the circle. Junior Morgan Levesque and freshman Lexi Fletcher will man two spots in the outfield. Riley Burke returns to short stop. Claire Lynch (second base), Casey Valle (first base) and Kate Arace (third base) round out the infield. Aimee Green, Ava Schiff and Talia Traversa will compete for playing time as well.
Coach: Fred Shaw (Third year)
Last year: 4-12
Key returnees: Alexa Troiano, junior; Isabelle Whalen, junior; Brianna VanDuesen, senior.
Outlook: Monument Mountain is looking to improve on last year's losing season with a team that has a mixture of youth and experience. The Spartans must replace the leadership lost from Emily Shaw, Amanda Morse and Lizzy Troiano. Shaw filled in well at shortstop after starting last season at first base. Troiano is the cousin of Monument's starting pitcher Alexa Troiano, and it will be up to freshman catcher Greta Luf to develop chemistry with Alexa. Shaw said Luf is mature for a freshman, is a very hard worker and a fast learner. Whalen moves from second base to short stop and will pitch at times, allowing Troiano to play short stop. VanDuesen is a senior captain.
Shaw said he wants to find where his players fit best and allow them to stay there and become comfortable. He added that the team's focusing on making the routine plays, after failing to do so last year, which negatively affected the pitching staff.
Coach: Kurt DeGrenier (Ninth year)
Last year: 18-5, lost in Western Massachusetts D-III semifinals.
Key returnees: Chandler DeGrenier, senior; Kersten Cutlip, senior, Devan Galli, junior
Outlook: Mount Everett's chances of returning to the Western Mass. tournament took a big hit during the winter, as knee injuries to Gwendolyn Carpenter and Marion DeVoti
will sideline them for the entire season. Emily Coon's graduation leaves another hole in the Eagles lineup and longtime catcher Morgan DeGrenier was lost to graduation as well. Even with the turnover of the roster, the Eagles return plenty of talent. Cutlip brings five years of varsity experience to the shortstop position. Chandler DeGrenier has game-big experience in the circle as well. Galli supplies pop to the lineup. Madison Ullrich, Jaclyn Derwitsch and Sarah Beckwith will also see playing time.
Coach: Kyle Kasala (Second year)
Last year: 3-10
Key returnees: None
Outlook: St. Joseph will try to remain competitive in the South despite having just 10 players on the roster. The Crusaders have an entire group of new players, and they must adjust to varsity softball with almost no time spent outside due to the inclement weather of early April. Freshman Sarah Squires will be the team's No. 1 pitcher in the circle. She'll spend time in the infield as well. Royanna Jordao will also pitch and play second base. Senior Rebekah Baker will take over behind the play. Senior Olivia Bullock will play third base.
Coach: Robin Finnegan (Third year)
Last year: 9-11
Key returnees: Alanza Quinones, senior; Michaela Malloy, senior; Meghan Goyette, sophomore.
Outlook: McCann Tech lost seven seniors from last year's team, but the Hornets return several players with varsity experience. The battery of Quinones and Malloy return for their final years. Goyette will also see time in the circle, allowing Malloy to play the corner infield spots. Quinones is one of the top catchers in Western Mass., blending strong defense with a consistent bat.
Katie Giglotti, Amanda Rancourt, and Julia Esoldi bring experience to the outfield. Aime Dowling will serve in a utility role. Freshman Ayrian Quinones and sophomore Mya Daigneault will see time as well.
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