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Main Line softball teams swinging into spring

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The Main Line high school softball scene last spring featured a number of strong teams, such as PAISAA semifinalist Academy of Notre Dame (18-9) and Central League champion Haverford.
This spring, the Main Line should feature another strong crop of softball squads. What follows is an early-season look at the Main Line high school softball squads, based on information provided by the team’s coaches:

Academy of Notre Dame
Head coach: Carl Ellis, third year.
Last year’s record: 18-9, adavanced to PAISAA semifinals.
Key returnees: Senior catcher/shortstop and co-captain Sophia Marlino (3-time first team All-Inter-Ac, had 47 RBIs, 30 runs scored and 15 extra-base hits last year); senior infielder and co-captain Marissa Mycek (.339 PA last year); senior infielder and co-captain Anita Bilotta (.471 BA with 24 hits, 11 extra base hits and 21 RBIs last year); senior infielder Erin Mahoney; senior outfielder Liann Dawson; junior outfielder/pitcher Sophia Haub; junior infielder/outfielder Samantha McGarvey; sophomore pitcher/outfield/infield Grace Jackson (196 strikouts in 118 IP with 0.89 last year, batted .600 with 42 runs scored); sophomore outfielder/pitcher Caroline Adams (.430 BA with 11 extra base hits and 23 runs last year); sophomore infielder/outfielder Bianca Rosato.
Others to watch: freshman shortstop/outfielder Brooke McKeown; freshman outfielder Hannah Jackson.
Outlook: The Irish have strong senior leadership, as five 3-year starters return (Mycek, Bilotta, Dawson, Mahoney and Marlino). Underclassmen such as Adams, Haub, Rosato and McKeown should all play key roles in the success of the team. Notre Dame looks to be a strong contender for the Inter-Ac and PAISAA championships.

Agnes Irwin
Head coach: David Scott, first year.
Last year’s record: 10-7 overall, 6-7 Inter-Ac.
Key returnees: senior catcher Lily Zelov, senior first baseman Paige Brala, junior pitcher Paige DiLullo, junior first baseman Dee Kalaparides, sophomore third baseman Dayna Thomas.
Others to watch: senior outfielder Jordan Cherry, freshman shortstop Kelly Cooper, freshman outfielder Ani Dardarian, freshman second baseman Aren Dardarian.
Outlook: Scott said, “We have strong, veteran pitching and good offensive firepower in the middle of our line-up. We are very young but talented at some key positions. We will rely heavily upon our upperclassman, both on and off the field, for success. If we do the basic things consistently well, we should be in contention for an Inter-Ac title.”

Baldwin School
Head coach: Bryan Garrett, second year.
Last year’s record: 4-13 overall, 3-9 Inter-Ac.
Key returnees: senior shortstop and captain Samantha Martin, sophomore second baseman/catcher Alex Loomis, senior outfielder Cara Guernsey.
Others to watch: sophomore catcher Hanna Maier, freshman third baseman Alaina Donnelly, freshman pitcher/second baseman Maura Smith, freshman pitcher/first baseman Tessa Pearlstein, freshman outfielder Maddie Brown.
Outlook: Garrett said, “We are a young team guided by great leadership from our captains and returning players. Our biggest challenges are our youth and lack of experience playing at the high school level, and the great competition they will see this season.”

Conestoga
Head coach: Pete Ricci, third year.
Last year’s record: 7-10 overall, 7-9 Central League.
Key returnees: senior second baseman Rachel Lopez, senior first baseman Katie Mayock, junior shortstop Olivia Cepielik, junior catcher Emme Rycyzyn, sophomore pitcher Lauren Lofland.
Others to watch: sophomore outfielder Claire Overton, freshman outfielder Kate Clement.
Outlook: The Pioneers biggest strengths are pitching and veteran experience. Ricci said, “Our keys to success will be staying fundamentally sound, playing solid defense, and having a focused approach at the plate. Our biggest challenge will be consistency at the plate and in the field.”

Episcopal Academy
Head coach: Kelly Edwards, second year.
Last year’s record: 10-7 overall, 7-5 Inter-Ac.
Key returnees: sophomore pitcher/shortstop Belle Volatile; junior first baseman/third baseman Grace Smith.
Others to watch: sophomore outfielder Jackie Miller, freshman catcher/outfielder Hailee Moran, freshman pitcher/infielder Emma Tansky.
Outlook: Edwards said, “Our team is very young, which is both a blessing and a curse. Our freshmen class is a strong and well-bonded unit. Our dynamic freshman duo of Emma Tansky and Hailee Moran work wonderfully together and I expect big things from the two of them. Our inexperience is also a curse. We graduated five senior leaders and now have nine underclassmen dominating the squad, many who will step on a varsity field for the first time this season. With the lack of varsity game experience comes a certain level of intimidation and confidence issues. All are things that will only improve as the season progresses.”

Friends’ Central

Head coach: Steve Colucci and Bob Bartholomew, second year as co-head coaches at Friends’ Central. 

Last year’s record: 4-8 overall, 2-4 Friends’ Schools League. 

Key returnees: senior catcher Michele Meline, junior shortstop Zoe Shoemaker, junior center fielder Julia Nierenberg.

Others to watch: second baseman Hanna Benjet, third baseman Rore Anderson.
Lost to graduation: pitcher Olivia Bartholomew, first baseman/shortstop Chandra Savage, third baseman Maddi McDonnell, left fielder Elizabeth Kahn.

Outlook: Colucci said, “We are looking to be a contender for the Friends’ Schools League title this year. We have a good core of returning players with a strong defense and speed. The combination of outstanding leadership in Meline and Shoemaker along with the talent seen in our younger players should prove to be an exciting one for the Phoenix this year. We expect to be competitive through hard work while still having fun.”

Haverford High
Head coach: Jill Marshall, third year.
Last year’s record: 15-5 overall, 15-2 Central League (first place).
Key returnees: junior centerfielder Ali Murphy, senior shortstop/utility Morgan Marchesani, junior second baseman Amber Moscoe.
Others to watch: junior third baseman/outfielder Anna Mefford, freshman pitcher Annabelle Donato, freshman outfielder/third baseman Tess Smiley, freshman catcher Haley Greenwald.
Outlook: Marshall said, “I feel that our biggest strength is our athleticism – we have a lot of players that play multiple positions and are just great competitors. I feel that we will be competitive in the Central League this year. We graduated a core group of starters and are definitely working hard to close those gaps. Our biggest challenge is not snowballing our mistakes from tough innings to tough games – just trying to isolate mistakes.”

Radnor
Head coach: John Schaefer, fourth year.
Last year’s record: 7-11 overall, 6-10 league (seven losses by 1-2 runs).
Key returnees: junior shortstop Audrey Rosenblum (was first team All-Central League last year), senior catcher Cate Remphrey, senior center fielder Carolyn Eckstein, senior third baseman Quinn Tobias.
Others to watch: senior pitcher Libby Tewksbury, senior first baseman Sydney D’Entremont, senior outfielder Kate O’Sullivan, junior outfielder Sophia Royle, sophomore pitcher/outfielder Roni Hoover, junior pitcher Tess Massaro.
Outlook: Schaefer said, “We should have a well-balanced line up, led at the top by Audrey, Carolyn, Cate and Quinn. I also believe we will be a solid defensive team with strength up the middle and on the infield corners. We have three pitchers with different styles which will present varied looks throughout a game. Our biggest key to success will be getting baserunners from 1-9 in our line up, and playing solid defense that gets outs.”

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