Locals to compete for state softball titles

By Mike Zummo
Posted 3/30/22

Softball season is already starting to look a little more normal.Preseason practice started when it normally does, on a Monday in March, and not in the middle of April. The regular season will get is …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Locals to compete for state softball titles


Softball season is already starting to look a little more normal.
Preseason practice started when it normally does, on a Monday in March, and not in the middle of April. The regular season will get is normal seven to eight weeks, as opposed to the five that it got during the 2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And even though a Section 9 champion was crowned last year, there was nothing beyond that.

This year, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships have returned, and local teams hope to be in the mix for a berth.

Valley Central
Despite losing several key players like Jackie Rometo, Sarah Congelosi, Megan Guidry and Lily Bonitz, eighth-year Valley Central coach Katie Farrugia is excited for the upcoming season.

“We lost many key players last year, but I can see everyone on the team really stepping it up to fill positions,” Farrugia said.

Returning are shortstop Emilia Brundage, Alyssa Bonilla, Lauren Serrao, Bella Mayor and Brianna Robinson.

With some returning experience, the Vikings’ goal is to improve on last year’s 10-9 record from 2021. Last year’s Vikings advanced to the Section 9 Class AA semifinals, where they were eliminated by the Monroe-Woodbury Crusaders.

The returners will mix with a pair of newcomers in Kayla Fenner and Audrey Conklin as the Vikings learn to work together as a team and communicate toward achieving their goals.

“They give 100 percent every practice and want to be better every day for their team,” Farrugia said. “They lift each other up and celebrate each other’s success. I am looking forward to seeing how far they can push themselves, both individually and as a team.”

While the Vikings are looking to improve on last year’s Section 9 result, the Wallkill Panthers are looking for their first sectional berth in five years.

“We’re looking to end that streak above all else,” sixth-year Wallkill coach Sean Murphy said.

They will begin their quest without catcher Kylie Detz, pitcher/center fielder Shaya Norton, designated player Deanna Specht, and third baseman/outfielder Emma Bohlinger.

Returning to the Panthers’ lineup this year will be pitcher/utility person Jennifer Devens, a senior, and another senior first baseman/catcher Jordyn Detz. Outfielder Sara Goering also is a senior. Returning middle infielder Gabby Faia is a sophomore.

“We have a lot of younger players,” and even among other ‘older’ sect, there are many making their varsity debut,” Murphy said.

“We need to shake off those nerves and hit the ground running on April 1.”

The Panthers will add newcomers like junior pitcher/outfield Olivia Lowery, junior catcher Hannah Stewart, and sophomore twins, outfielder Alex and outfielder/catcher Sam Dembinsky.

“This year’s group is definitely going to be different than last year’s squad,” Murphy said. “Last season, we had a lineup that could explode at any time, but we were prone to long periods where we didn’t execute in the box. This year, we’re going to need the little things well in order to manufacture some runs.”

Devens and Lowery will spend time in the pitcher’s circle and Murphy said he has extreme confidence in them. He also said their offseason defensive work seems to be paying dividends, which could help the Panthers avoid the “snowball inning” in the field.
“I’m hopeful and excited for it to come together once the games start,” Murphy said.

Pine Bush
Pine Bush graduated eight seniors from last year’s team and clinched a berth in the Section 9 tournament late in the season last year.

Pine Bush lost seniors Caitlyn Price, Kiara Vasquez, Julianne McCabe, Serina Garmendiz, Sierra Birmingham, Shauna Rector and Abigail Suleski and Jessica Fowler.
No other information was available at press time.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here