The trend in softball now is to have options when it comes to pitching. So while Player of the Year Bri Battavio is certainly an ace capable of a heavy workload, Archbishop Wood pitcher Marisa Browne makes for a solid 1-2 All-Area punch.
Browne, a junior, led the Vikings to the regular-season Philadelphia Catholic League title after a breakout sophomore season. The right-handed struck out a staggering 147 batters against just 19 walks with a 1.35 ERA. Her season highlight was an 18-strikeout shutout in the District 12-5A championship.
One of the area’s most prolific offenses was Hatboro-Horsham’s and the Hatters belted a lot of hits en route to a second place finish in their first year playing in the Suburban One League American. Traditionally, Hatboro-Horsham has had strong offensive catchers and outfielders and this season was no exception.
Behind the plate, sophomore Britt Hubler smashed her way to a .580 average with 39 RBIs and showed plenty of pop with four home runs and seven triples. She was a tough out too, striking out just one time all season.
In center field, Brynn Griffith posted a special senior season, also batting at a .580 clip and providing plenty of runs scored (30) and driven in (37).
The Hatters’ infield could also use the bat pretty well. Senior first baseman Kylie Flagler, a Coppin State recruit, was a top of the order threat in every area, hitting .414, scoring 34 times, driving in 25 runs and hitting with power for seven doubles, three triples and two home runs.
Another team that could score in bunches was District 1-AA champion Dock Mennonite. While senior shortstop Jill Bolton’s first sport is field hockey, accepting an offer to play at Liberty, she’s a pretty good softball player as well. A nearly .500 hitter for her career, Bolton swung a .507 average this spring and did plenty of damaged with seven doubles, five triples and 10 home runs. She also drove in a single-season record 38 runs and scored 36 times.
While Central Bucks West didn’t see many wins this spring, senior third baseman Cara Hatzinger did all she could to change that. The infielder batted .434, striking out just three times and drove in 10 runs for the Bucks.
Gwynedd Mercy Academy senior Christina Shragher stood out as one of the best hitters in the AACA this past season, giving the Monarchs a power threat and a weapon on the bases. Shragher, who can play infield or outfield, hit a robust .552, doubled eight times, tripled twice and smashed five home runs to go with 22 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.
North Penn had three newcomers in the starting lineup this season. Two were freshmen and the third was outfielder Emily Groarke, who came over after playing the last two seasons at Dock. Slotting in as the Knights’ leadoff hitter and right fielder, Groarke reached base consistently and made a smooth transition from Bicentennial Athletic League to SOL play, earning first-team SOL Continental honors.
Lansdale Catholic saw lineup changes throughout the season but by the end of the year, junior outfielder Lauren Crim had cemented herself at the top of the order. Crim gave LC plenty of quality at-bats, posting a solid average and ranking as one of the team leaders in hits and runs scored.
Things came together for Pennridge late as the Rams won six of seven to close the regular season and earn a playoff bid. Things came together all season for sophomore shortstop Kiley Watson all season however, with the rangy defender also fitting in at the top of the Pennridge lineup. A good hitter and aggressive runner, Watson was on base plenty for the bats that followed her in the order.
P: Bri Battavio, North Penn
P: Marisa Browne, Archbishop Wood
C: Britt Hubler, Hatboro-Horsham
INF: Kylie Flagler, Hatboro-Horsham
INF: Jill Bolton, Dock Mennonite
INF: Cara Hatzinger, CB West
INF: Kiley Watson, Pennridge
DP: Christina Shrager, Gwynedd Mercy Academy
OF: Brynn Griffith, Hatboro-Horsham
OF: Lauren Crim, Lansdale Catholic
OF: Emily Groarke, North Penn
Utl: Sara Tannenbaum, Upper Dublin
Alex Scheeler (Souderton), Mary Piccozi (Lansdale Catholic), Skylar Hengeveld (Pennridge), Angela Gervasi (Mount St Joseph), Ragan Ebersole (Plymouth Whitemarsh), Jordan Pietrzykoski (North Penn), Sam Harty (Pennridge), Renee Reynolds (Abington), Jules Donchez (Archbishop Wood), Morgan Gianelle (Cheltenham), Kayla Sawick (Upper Moreland), Taylor Carter (Archbishop Wood).
Top Photo: North Penn’s Emily Groarke at bat for SOL/BAL against Tri-Cape during the Carpenter Cup at FDR Park in Philadelphia on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)