2020 Softball Seniors
Emily Lasek, Amaia Jackson, McKenna DeLuca and Dani Pantano are Newington softball's four seniors
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, spring’s 2020 high school sports season may never happen. Over the next couple of months we’ll recognize several local senior athletes, who have invested countless hours, days, weeks, months, and years into their respective sports only to have it cut short by this unfortunate time in our history.
Let’s start with the local softball players. Information provided by head coaches: Cromwell-Angelo Morello, Newington-Steven Markie, Rocky Hill-Tyler Catlin, Wethersfield-Colleen Budaj
Amanda McFarlin is a four-year starter, playing right field as a freshman and left field the last three seasons. McFarlin hit in the middle of the order, finishing with a batting average of .379, as well as excelling in the field, and was voted as a captain in 2020. She was a perennial honor roll student in the classroom and is headed to Eastern Connecticut State University.
Delaney Wood is a four-year player, starting at first base and also was a spot starter at third. Wood hit .260 overall and became one of our best defenders. Coach Angelo Morello believed she was the conference’s best defensive first basemen last season. Wood also played goalie for Cromwell soccer in the fall.
Megan Khanna is a three-year starter at second base, posting a .342 batting average, 53 hits, 38 RBI, 37 runs, and seven triples in 54 career games. Khanna was named captain for the 2020 season and will be attending Plymouth State University where she plans on trying out for the softball team.
Annie Ensign is a versatile utility player, playing five different positions; second base, third base, shortstop, left field, and pitcher. Ensign ignited a big rally versus Wethersfield last season, delivering an opposite field triple to the gap at Elm Ridge Park. She was named a captain for the 2020 season and will be attending University of Rhode Island.
Julia Rizzo played outfield and pitcher. Rizzo started her freshmen year, batting .284 through the first six games before sustaining injuries. Last season as a junior, Rizzo delivered the biggest hit for the Terriers with two outs in the bottom of the 7th to plate Ensign with the gRockyame-tying run versus Wethersfield. She will be attending Manchester Community College.
Thea Bonamico is a terrific infielder that made 52 of 54 defensive plays in her two seasons for an astonishing 96% fielding percentage. Bonamico made a major impact in her 19 career games after and will be attending Manchester Community College.
Elaina Giansanti delivered her first career varsity base hit last season versus Bulkeley. The three-year member of the program will be attending Roger Williams University with former Rocky Hill catcher Maddi Santo.
Sam Menendez is a two-year member of the program, who collected her first career varsity base hit versus Bloomfield last season. Menendez will be attending University of Hartford.
Dani Pantano is a four-year starter and was the team’s ace on the mound the past two seasons, racking up 19 wins with an ERA of 3.85. Pantano was also great from the plate, registering 58 hits, 50 RBI, and five extra base hits over the past three years. She was named captain as a junior and will be attending Springfield College next fall where she’ll attempt to walk-on for the softball team.
McKenna DeLuca was a four-year starter, posting 38 hits, 20 RBI, 71 runs, 17 stolen bases, and a pair of extra-base hits the past three seasons. DeLuca, who also played field hockey at NHS, will be attending Salem State University where she will be playing for the Vikings softball team.
Amaia Jackson played outfield and pitched, having a breakout 2019 season by scoring eight runs and having two multi-RBI games. Jackson was also an all-conference volleyball player at NHS.
Emily Lasek was a fielder who was scheduled for a larger role on the team this spring after scoring her first two varsity runs a year ago. Lasek is off to Westfield State University to major in Elementary Education.
Zoe Kleeblatt was a four-year varsity player, who coach Colleen Budaj described as a versatile, team player. Kleeblatt excelled all over the field, slatted to split time between shortstop and outfield this spring, and would hit early in the line up due to her high on base percentage and ability to see pitches. She will soon be off to Dickson College in Pennsylvania to continue her academic and softball career.
Kaitlyn Fischer would split time between second base, outfield, and pitching. Budaj said she is consistent as a pitcher and added that he was a strong defensive player on bunt coverage. Fischer plans on attending Manchester Community College to study Radiography.
Olivia Morais was entering her second varsity season, playing right field and centerfield. Budaj liked her range in tracking the ball and her ability to get back into her cuts quickly.
Rocky Hill softball has six seasons this spring
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin