By Tom Pedulla—
The Hudson Independent previews the local varsity softball teams. (The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry will not field a team this spring.)
The Eagles feature two outstanding individual talents in sophomore catcher Maysin Kannapin and senior first baseman Cameryn Bell. They are joined by junior third baseman Sofia Fucci as team captains.
Kannapin is a rare talent who blossomed into the league’s Most Valuable Player as a precocious freshman. She batted a robust .548 while knocking in 32 runs and fashioning a .608 on-base percentage. She possesses ample power. Nineteen of her 34 hits went for extra bases, including five home runs, as she earned All-Section and All-League honors.
“Maysin opened a lot of eyes to her abilities last season even though she was only a freshman,” said veteran coach Kim Reznicek. “She was respected by not only her teammates but other coaches around the section for her work ethic, composure and overall respect for the game.”
Bell returns as an All-League and honorable-mention All-Section talent. She has been with the varsity since she was in the eighth grade and her experience is a tremendous plus. She struck out only three times last season while batting .474. She drove in 19 runs and compiled a .571 on-base percentage.
Kannapin’s greatest challenge will be on the defensive side as she helps to develop young pitchers such as freshman Kamryn Addis and eighth-grader Nicolette Giorgio. “Her presence behind the plate will be pivotal for us, especially with a young group of pitchers,” Reznicek said.
Second baseman-center fielder Abby Dann, middle infielder Madison Piacentino and left fielder Alexa Vicchio look to be other solid contributors.
Reznicek likes what she sees as the Eagles work to improve on last year’s 7-13 record by limiting errors and running the bases smartly.
“They are already shaping up to be a team that truly looks after one another and wants each other to be successful,” Reznicek said.
With no seniors and outfielder Harper Kelsey as the lone junior on the roster, it is fair to say that Hackley is short on experience. What the Hornets do have is a star pitcher, sophomore right-hander Andy Hegarty, and that may mean everything.
“She’s got a variety of pitches – fastball, change, curve. She throws in the low 60’s. She’s always working,” coach Margaret Scarcella said of Hegarty.
Hegarty played a huge role when Hackley swept 12 of 15 games last season and vied for the state title. She was overpowering in striking out 188 batters in 91 innings. She was equally dynamic at the plate with a .698 batting average and 50 RBI.
As for Kelsey, she may be the lone junior, but she brings a great deal to the team. “She has emerged as a leader,” Scarcella said. “The kid is all-out hustle all the time. She gives you everything she has and is a great role model for the younger kids.”
Good-hit, good-field shortstop Annabel Prividi is a sophomore who is a welcome addition. Brigid Doherty, an eighth-grade catcher, has shown she can handle Hegarty’s heat. Gabrielle Paes, another eighth-grader, will take over at third base.
Despite such a youthful roster that may need some time to gel, Scarcella is thinking big. “I’m always raising the bar,” she said.
Veteran coach Martin Resendiz is eager for a return trip to the sectionals after last season’s opening-round loss to Pleasantville. He is confident he has the roster to accomplish that.
Sofia Morabito and Sofia Martinez provide two strong hitters in the middle of the lineup and will be counted on for hefty production. Samantha Weidler returns as a center fielder. She also has the versatility to move to the infield whenever needed. The importance of that kind of versatility cannot be overstated.
Senior captain Samantha Hirschheimer possesses invaluable pitching experience. She will share time on the mound with promising freshman Nia Kilbury, who will trot to the outfield when she is not pitching. Kilbury was pressed into service to start last year’s playoff game as an eighth-grader and will surely grow from that.
Resendiz noted the versatility of many of his underclassmen, a quality previous teams have lacked.
“The expectations are high for this group,” he said. “This group, when they were on the junior varsity, they had tremendous success and now they’re coming up. There is a hunger to start where they left off.”
New year, another new coach.
This time it is Steve Loscher who looks to stabilize a program beset by coaching changes and on-field woes. Loscher is a veteran who does not lack confidence. When told the team won five games all of last season, he immediately expressed the desire to double that.
During a recent practice, the most basic of drills were being done. “Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals,” Loscher said. “Throwing and catching. Trying not to give the other team too many extra outs. If we can throw it and catch it, we can be competitive.”
One position that does not concern the new coach is a vital one – shortstop. Senior Eva Poll stands out there. “She’s a slick-fielding shortstop who can hit. She’s going to bat leadoff for us,” Loscher said. “She’s our best player, without a doubt.”
Sophomore third baseman Lucy Black also sparkles. First baseman Emily Arides, catcher Meghan O’Hanlan, second baseman Cassie Junge and center fielder Hannah Berbeke are being counted on for continued development.
One key will be for pitchers such as Amber Lopez and Anastasia Mazon to become more consistent and throw strikes.
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