Softball season is about to begin in Connecticut and many local teams will look to take the success of last year and build on it, or in Southington’s case, repeat as Class LL State Champions.
The Blue Knights highlight a slew of talented teams in the Bristol and New Britain areas that are all set to stack wins for the next two months. The teams looking to improve on less successful seasons are also in positions to play better now that most players will be adjusted to the varsity level.
Here is an insight to this year’s local softball teams
Head coach: Monica Hayes (7th season)
2021 season: 16-5, lost in second round of Class L tournament
Key losses: Gwen Torreso (SS), Janessa Bartell (INF), Kayla St. Onge (INF)
Key returners: Alex Sciaretto (junior, P), Sophia Torreso (junior, P), Kaley Laird (junior, INF), Ryleigh Hall (senior, OF), Gabby Buonafede (senior, INF), Sarah Romano (senior, UTIL), Lorelei Stancavage (junior, C), Adrianna Lubrico (junior, INF), Sam Sklenka (junior, OF), Leah Sklenka (sophomore, OF)
Outlook: The Rams return several starters from last year, including Sciaretto, an all-conference selection from last year who dominated in the circle all season, and Stancavage, who caught Sciaretto from behind the plate and brings a skilled bat. Torreso will be expected to be one of the team’s top offensive contributors from the heart of the batting order as well.
Head coach: Tyler Catlin (1st season)
2021 season: 14-7, reached second round of the Class L tournament
Key losses: Riley Giblin (1B), Jasmine Perez (3B)
Key returners: Alison Tellier (senior, P), Janessa Gonzalez (senior, C), Alex Shorette (senior, CF), Samantha Policki (senior, INF), Grace D’Amato (senior, UTIL), Sarah Snedeker (senior, OF), Jazmyn Browne (junior, SS), Ashley Serafin (junior, P/1B)
Outlook: Six returning seniors will help ease Catlin’s transition to coaching a new team as the Lancers bring back many of its primary players from last season.
“Up the middle, we look very strong at Catcher, Pitcher, Middle Infielders, and Centerfield. Sprinkle in some players in corner spots looking to expand their role from last season and we have a real recipe for success. I know early there isn't an easy out in our lineup 1-9,” Catlin said.
Head coach: Victoria Germano (1st season)
2021 season: 3-15
Key returners: Xandra Silva (senior, P/SS Liliana Silva (senior, C).
Outlook: Losing a season proved detrimental for the Hurricanes last year, but they will look to bounce back this season under new leadership. New Britain should take at least one step forward from April through June.
Head coach: Davina Hernandez (8th season)
2021 season: 26-1, twice-reigning Class LL Champions
Key losses: Nicole Greco , Kayla Pelletier , Alison Rembish, Julia Panarella, Jazmin Lasane
Key returners: Ashlyn Desaulniers (senior), Kaitlynn Griffin (senior), Samantha Rogers (junior), Samantha Sullivan (senior)
Outlook: The Blue Knights had seven all-conference players last season and only three graduated, putting them in prime position to add a third consecutive state championship.
Head coach: Scott Marcucio (5th season)
2021 season: 5-14
Key losses: Kayla Wisz (senior, P/1B), Sabrinna Matthews (senior, UTIL)
Key returners: Samantha Thompson (senior, 3B), Aliana Shover (junior, C/OF)
Outlook: The Blue Devils will look to bounce back after a difficult 2021 campaign that resulted in no postseason games. A more experienced team with several players coming back should give them a leg up from the season before.
Head coach: Steve Markie (22nd season)
2021 season: 10-11, lost in first round of Class LL tournament
Key losses: Amanda Ackerley (senior, OF)
Key returners: Hannah DeMarco (senior, UTIL), Elisa Taylor (senior, 1B), Jaelyn Gonzalez (junior, P), Jaiden Tucker (junior, SS), Brianna Gadarowski (junior, INF)
Outlook: The Nor’easters return eight starters from last season and all three of their all-CCC selections, highlighted by Gonzalez, who had a batting average above .600 in 2021. Markie said he thinks his team could compete for a league title if it plays good defense and finishes games.
Head coach: Jason Pires (18th season)
2021 season: 19-3, reached second round of Class L tournament
Key losses: Stefanie Poulin (P), Jenna Zup (SS), Kylie Lanteri (3B), Casey Uryga (OF), Sam Goode (OF)
Key returners: Rylee Cop (senior, 2B), Sophia Fazzina (senior, C), Hailey Wieczorek (junior, P/INF), Jess Petit (sophomore, C/OF)
Outlook: After a one-loss regular season in 2021, the Redcoats lost their first state tournament game. Now needing to replace four four-year starters, they will look to some of their younger talent to lead the way.
“I expect us to finish over .500 and contend for the conference championship,” Pires said.
Head coach: Gary Hovhanessian (17th season)
2021 season: 4-16
Key losses: Caleigh McDougall
Key returners: Gillian Smith (senior, P/1B/3B), Meg Gaudreau (senior, 2B), Caitie Wootton (senior, INF/OF), Jessica Martin (junior, OF), Lexi Irazabal (junior, OF), Maddie Sirois (junior, INF/OF), Julia Lawson (sophomore, C/INF), Kate Marchak (sophomore, C/1B/OF)
Outlook: As Hovhanessian nears his 200th career win, the Falcons will look to rebound from a difficult 2021 campaign. With many returners looking to build off their first year of varsity experience, Havhanessian described the goal as winning at least 8-10 games and qualify for the state tournament.
Head coach: Stephanie Fuller (11th season)
2021 season: 5-9
Key losses: Jessie Valentine , Tiffany Pires , Lacy Lyons , Emma Farrow , Gianna Farrow, Alexis Fitzherbert , Taylor Barnett
Key returners: Zoe Zappone (senior)
Outlook: The Kangaroos will look to complete a full schedule after playing just 14 games last season. They still managed to improve on their win total from 2019, so maybe this year is another season of progress.
Head coach: Michael Jessie (6th season)
2021 season: 3-11, lost in first round of Class M tournament
Key losses: Kaylee Dobransky (SS)
Key returners: Nia Largent (junior, C), Yahailey Montanez (sophomore, INF), Alice Biodae (junior, P/UTIL)
Outlook: After a challenging season in 2021, the Ravens hope to string together some more wins in 2022. With Biodae returning for her second season as captain, Innovation will have solid leadership to build off of when the season begins.
Head coach: Loren Rozanski (3rd season)
2021 season: 10-10, lost in first round of Class M tournament
Key losses: Tabetha Trammell (SS), Marangelis Gonzalez, Nyssa Foster-De Oro
Key returners: Kayla Vargas (junior, 1B), Kiamylis Rivera (senior, P), Caydence Levesque (sophomore, C)
Outlook: Kaynor Tech eliminated the Gladiators from the conference and state tournaments, but this year’s returners will try to translate that experience into better success this season.