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Patriot Athletic Conference-Stripes Division varsity softball previews (area teams)

Senior leadership to power Warriors through PAC

Patriot Athletic Conference

By Ryan Kaczmarski

After a disappointing 9-16 finish to the 2013 season, the Fairview High School softball team is ready for its returning letter winners to boost the program to the top of the Patriot Athletic Conference.

“We have seven returning seniors who set the competitive, aggressive and fun tone for the team,” Fairview head coach Jessica Hageman said. “Our two returning senior pitchers are Marisa Rinehart and Annie Fratzke. Our returning center fielder is Sarah Stafford, and our dominant first and second base glove returns in senior Maureen Klag.

“We also have three returning juniors (Kelsey Bilak, Paige Kerrigan and Christi Skelly), who will see significant time at short stop, pitcher and catcher, respectively.”

The three captains on this year’s squad are seniors Kaitlin Ford, Savannah Lally and Sara Murtaugh.

“Kaitlin brings leadership to the outfield core and a strong bat to the lineup,” Hageman explained. “Savannah leads by example and keeps the infield working as one, and Sara is our outgoing captain, who loves the game of softball and is always there supporting every single member of our team with our winning philosophy.”

A key newcomer to the Warriors this year is Mo Wolansky.

“Her versatile glove can play short stop and second base very well, and her batting is the best among the team,” Hageman said. “Our speed on the basepaths is much improved with newcomers Angela Dunn and Tori Avallone, and depth has been added to our catcher position in freshman Kailee Thadeus.”

The roster is rounded out by junior Michaeala Ratz, sophomore Salena Iwais and freshmen Yassmen El-Kulak, Samie Kerrigan, Mia O’Malley, Mary Williams, Kaycey Sarkisian and Emily Simko.

The four PAC league games, two against Clearview and two against Columbia, will determine the conference pecking order.

“Our team strengths are commitment, competition, desire to win, aggressiveness and a willingness to improve every day,” Hageman stated. “As a team, we can improve on building overall knowledge of game situations, limiting mental mistakes and keeping the game of softball seperate from any individual personal issues.

“Our most obvious goal is to win more games than we did last year,” she continued. “Our short-term goals are to improve from every single game to the next, and our long-term goal is to compete for a PAC division title and get wins in the sectional tournament.”


Mystic, Smith to lead Longhorns to success

Patriot Athletic Conference

By Ryan Kaczmarski

The Lutheran West High School varsity softball team is looking for a quick turnaround from a 2013 season in which the program finished with an overall record of 6-15.

The Longhorns lost seven players to graduation, but return the star combination of starting pitcher Emily Mystic and catcher/third baseman Carey Smith. Mystic pitched a school-record 123.66 innings last year, while also setting school records on offense by hitting seven home runs in a single season, which brings her high school career total to nine (both school records).

Smith hit seven triples last year (also a school record), hit for a .444 average and a .762 slugging percentage. Maddie Jakabcic returns to split time between second base and short stop, and Lindsay Hosko will play first base, right field and left field.

“These are the seniors and co-captains of our team,” Lutheran West head coach Ellis Stevens said. “They all bring a ton of leadership and experience to the team.”

Key newcomers to this year’s squad are sophomore Elizabeth Petkac, who plays short stop and second base, and freshman catcher Grace LaPointe.

“Elizabeth has the speed, arm and range to be successful at any position,” Stevens said. “She also has the bat speed and power to set some records in her high school career.

“Grace – even though she is a freshman – brings good leadership and ability as a catcher.”

The roster is filled out byAshley Masek (pitcher/outfield/second base), Allison Silberhorn (pitcher/first base), Ava Gripp (third base/short stop/left field), Rachel O’Connor (outfield), Summer Nicholas (outfield), Jackie Mader (outfield/short stop) and Abbey Huffman (outfield).

According to Stevens, the biggest games on the schedule are always against Columbia and Keystone, with this year being no different.

“We are looking forward to the challenge,” Stevens stated. “Our strengths comes from the leadership of the seniors. To a player, these athletes want to improve at each practice and game to be the best to have come from Lutheran West.

“We as a team, would like to go further this year than we have gone in the past, for the regular season and tournaments.”




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