2014 SOFTBALL PREVIEW
Rocky Hill's terrific trio of Erika Leonard, Katie Slavin, Louisa Acca will be back this spring
The great comedian Brian Regan once questioned the origin of the name softball, saying that no one ever took a line drive to the face with a softball and said it was downy soft. With that said, it’s time for another not-so-softball season and the four local high school teams are primed for a spring full of excitement and intrigue. Here’s a detailed look at the upcoming season.
Cromwell struggled last season, finishing 4-16 in the first season under the guidance of head coach Angelo Morello. The Panthers had a promising start to 2013, winning two of their first three games, but were unable to sustain the early success once spring turned into summer. Mallory Leone and Taylor Polizonis enter their senior seasons coming off fantastic junior years. The two combined for 58 hits, 23 runs, and 32 RBI last season. Taylor Wood also made a splash as a freshman last season. She hit .500, drove in 24 runs, and hit one of the team’s two homeruns in 2013. The Panthers welcome rival New Britain to Cromwell High School for their home opener on Thursday, April 10th. First pitch is scheduled for 3:45 p.m.
The Newington Indians leaned heavily on sophomore Olivia Burgos last season and they will more than likely lean on her more this season. Burgos enters her junior season after pitching 131 of 134 innings total innings for Newington in 2013, while posting 18 complete games and registering a shutout in one of those games. Burgos also hit five of the team’s six homeruns and totaled 32 hits, 26 runs, and 25 RBI. The Indians start the season by hosting the Newington Jamboree, which takes place at Newington High School on Saturday, April 5th. First pitch for the event is at 9 a.m.
Rocky Hill took a step back last season after winning the Class M State Championship in 2012. The 2013 team had only two seniors on the roster and skipper Gilbert Gioia is hoping the team regains their championship form after the team was ousted in the first round of the tournament last summer. The team will rely on captains Katie Slavin and Erika Leonard, who enter their senior seasons as the team’s leader. The Terriers open at home against Bristol Central, who defeated Rocky Hill in their home opener last season. First pitch is Wednesday, April 9th at 3:45 p.m.
Wethersfield has won at least one tournament game the past three seasons and is hoping to take the next step this season with a state title in mind. Last season, the Eagles were blanked 7-0 by a juggernaut Foran team in the second round of the Class L tournament. Foran went on to lose in the state title game. Coach Brian Fanelli, who also coaches boys’ basketball at Wethersfield, will lean on senior fielder Rachel Dinatalie and junior pitcher Megan Kieselback to build on the success from last season. The Eagles will welcome Southington to Mill Woods Park for their home opener. First pitch is 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9th.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin