First Posted: 3/28/2012
In five days, the 2012 high school softball season starts for Abington Heights, Lackawanna Trail and Lakeland.
Last season the Abington Heights Lady Comets earned a 9-7 record and lost in the semifinal round of the district playoffs.
This season, Abington Heights will have to make due without Katie Stevens, Alexa Plevyak, Joetta Hashem, Katelyn Molinaro and Lindsey Spencer who all graduated last year and played key roles for the Lady Comets during the 2011 season.
"We lost five starting players who were very productive last season," Abington Heights coach John Kelly said. "Someone has to step up and take their place."
Cailey Ware and Kelsey Sarafinko are co-captains for the Lady Comets.
"They do everything right at practice, work hard on their drills and set an example for their teammates," Kelly said. "Players also look up to them when things aren't going our way during a game."
Jess Mahler, Claire Lakatos, Emma Gromelski, Alivia Plevyak and Kiana Sladicki will also return to the team this season. The 2012 roster also includes Katherine Rosencrance, Alex Gockley, Alex DeQueiroz, Caily Carpella, Lizzy Fitzgerald, Erica Yerke and Brittany Barrows.
"Our players work hard all year with fall ball, winter conditioning and summer ball," Kelly said. "They are extremely dedicated to the team and to softball in general."
The Lady Comets will play Delaware Valley at 4:30 Monday at Delaware Valley High School in their season opener.
The Lackawanna Trail Lady Lions recorded a 6-8 record during the 2011 season and lost to Lakeland in the first round of the district playoffs.
The Lady Lions will enter the 2012 season without Kayla Grunza, Alyssa Huffsmith, Lacey Croasdale, Krystal Wilbur and Sam Jones, who all graduated last year.
"They all contributed in their own way, and had excellent leadership," Lackawanna Trail coach John Brander said.
Lackawanna Trail's returning players include Natasha Pacholec, Clarissa Eggleston, Mackenzie Rosiak, Meg Stec, Brianna Smarkusky and Courtney Ditchey.
"Last year we missed that big hitter at times, and this year, in order to be successful, we need a big hit every game," Brander said. "Last year we had plenty of base-runners, but had no one to drive them in."
Senior Molly VanDuzer, who missed last season because of an injury after starting every game during her sophomore year, also returns to the Lackawanna Trail.
Cam Crock, Emily Huffsmith, Shelby Croasdale, Nicole Rosa, Gabby Truesdale and Sam Stacknick round out the roster for the Lady Lions.
"I think that this group of girls genuinely likes playing with each other," Brander said. "There aren't any egos to get in the way."
Brander hopes the team can improve on last season's record and make a run at the Lackawanna Division III title during its 2012 campaign.
"This team has a legitimate chance on impacting the outcome of a division and districts," Brander said. "I would not trade any of these girls for anyone in the league."
Lackawanna Trail will start its season against Elk Lake at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Elk Lake High School.
"I am always happy with our performance as long as they give 100 percent," Brander said. "We never gave up last season, so that should carry over."
The Lady Chiefs finished last season with an 8-6 record. They have to replace starters Tara Morcom, Alicia Kovaleski and Theresa Germano.
Head coach Brian Wagner is confident that the team's veteran leadership will lead to a winning season. Lakeland returns seniors Lauren Terpak, Shelby Gallis, Allison Kraky, Sam Amorine, Belle Standefer, Dana Prudente and Katie Holt, along with juniors Alissa Steier and Rachel Chrzan, and sophomore Morgan Sederovitz. Freshman Courtney Parchinski and Barb Verrastro should also compete for playing time.
"We have a great group of seniors who have played together for a long time," Wagner said. "The girls and I decided to forgo naming a captain. We feel they are all deserving and their goal is to win a district title as a team."
Wagner hopes to compete for a league title and make a deep run in districts.
"I have a great group of girls that will do anything they need to win," he said. "We need to improve our timely hitting. We stranded a lot of runners on base last year which hurt us in some crucial games."
Wagner believes his team his team's attitude and will to win will help them be successful during the season.
The Lady Chiefs will play Valley View at 4:30 Monday at home in their season opener.