Friday, December 26, 2014

Softball teams to watch

Centerfielder Chelsea Thomas returns for defending state champion Haddon Heights. Thomas batted home the winning runin last season´s Group 1 state final. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Centerfielder Chelsea Thomas returns for defending state champion Haddon Heights. Thomas batted home the winning runin last season's Group 1 state final. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Centerfielder Chelsea Thomas returns for defending state champion Haddon Heights. Thomas batted home the winning runin last season´s Group 1 state final. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer Gallery: Softball teams to watch

Bordentown. The Scotties fell, 1-0, in the semifinals of the Burlington County League tournament last year. They will be led this season by sophomore Katie Schroeder, who has been a difference-maker both at the plate and in the pitching circle.

Buena. Last year's South Jersey Group 2 champions are led by their captain, senior infielder Stephanie Walsh. The Chiefs have a solid pair of junior pitchers in Samantha Fiocchi and Sacred Heart transfer Lauren Dwyer. They also boast promising sophomore infielder Samantha Monfredo, who hit .350 last year.

Cumberland. The Colts lost seven letter-winners from last year, but coach Alan Homan said his team has talent. Cumberland will be led by two juniors: shortstop Jodi Cook and catcher Jackie Martin. In 2013, Cook batted .486 and Martin hit three home runs in one game.

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GCIT. The Cheetahs are led by three seniors who will play Division I or II softball next year. Pitcher Erynn Sobieski is headed to Albany, shortstop Taylor Favinger will go to Holy Family, and centerfielder Brooke Chisholm has signed with the University of the Sciences. Including senior third baseman Claire Lucas and junior second baseman Brandi Chester, the team will have five players who hit .300 or better last year.

Gloucester. The Lions bring back an experienced roster and expect to be the team to beat in the Tri-County Conference Classic Division. Senior third baseman Amanda Boulden, senior outfielder Amber Gundle, and junior pitcher/infielder Maddy Chain will be key performers.

Gloucester Catholic. The Rams went 18-8 last year and return nine letter-winners, including senior first baseman Annie Robinson and junior catcher Angela Antonini. Junior Marissa Cappello, who was hurt in 2013, will be relied on at pitcher. The team has two freshmen to look out for: leftfielder Kiera Regan and second baseman Christina Wilgus.

Haddon Heights. The Garnets are the reigning Group 1 state champions. They return senior centerfielder Chelsea Thomas, who played a big role in the championship game, singling home the winning run. Senior outfielder Kristen Resh also will be a key player.

Paul VI. After losing to St. John Vianney, 1-0, in the South Jersey Non-Public A final last year, the Eagles have hopes of winning the Olympic Conference this year. They will be led by senior five-tool shortstop Brielle Pietrafesa, senior centerfielder Dylan Jarvis, and senior pitcher Rosie LaGrotta.

Shawnee. After falling to rival Washington Township in the South Jersey Group 4 final in 2013, the Renegades are hoping to improve upon that this year. They will be led by junior Connor Gilligan, who has nine career home runs - two short of the school record.

Washington Township. The Minutemaids will try to defend their Group 4 state championship. Washington Township is led by senior centerfielder Alyssa Cudeyro, senior pitcher Jenna Mills, and junior shortstop Jessica Hughes.

- Evan Cross

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