S. Jersey Softball Teams to Watch

Posted: March 30, 2012

In alphabetical order, with last season's records in parentheses.

Absegami (20-7). The Braves are led by senior pitcher Kelly Lipton, who struck out a school-record 294 batters last season. Lipton also batted .398 with 30 RBIs. Catcher Melissa McCann is a top defender, and infielder Bryce Maguire batted .494.

Buena (22-5). The Chiefs have a top pitcher/hitter in senior Brittany Scott, who was 23-5 with a 0.81 ERA and also batted .490 with 39 RBIs. Catcher Ashley Curran anchors the defense, and outfielder Janessa Rios is a sparkplug at the top of the lineup.

Eastern (18-4). The Vikings feature veteran pitcher Steph Vuono, who was 17-4 with a 1.64 ERA, along with Division I recruits Cherelle Chambers (De Paul) and Gen Gaynor (La Salle). Juniors Steph Wolfrom and Madison Tiernan, a speedy soccer star, also are top players.

Gloucester Catholic (21-4). The defending Non-Public B champions will compete in Non-Public A this season. They will be led by junior pitcher Abby Merryman and the middle-infield combination of junior Carly Todd and senior Cait Eltzholtz.

Haddon Heights (18-5). The Garnets burst into prominence last season and should be back for more in 2012. They return junior pitcher Shayla Sweeney to lead the way.

Kingsway (23-5). The defending South Jersey Group 3 champions will feature pitcher/infielder Kelsey Dominik (.477), a Temple recruit, along with infielder Allie Bradian, a Hofstra recruit. Catcher Katie Dickson leads the defense.

Rancocas Valley (18-5). The Red Devils have a top battery in pitcher Alissa Martin and catcher Alexis Gaskill, a top defender and hitter.

Sacred Heart (25-5). A nice mix of youth and experience will fuel the Lions. The sophomore battery of pitcher Rosie LaGrotta (21 wins) and catcher Danielle Lugo (.403) supplies the youthful energy, and experienced third baseman Rachel Gavigan, a Mount St. Mary's recruit who already has 100 career hits, runs, and RBIs, is a mature team leader.

Shawnee (10-8). The Renegades return junior pitcher Jackie Pezzato (9-5, plus a .389 batting average) along with standouts Rice Fazio and Lily Shontz.

Vineland (20-6). Junior pitcher Demi Murray won 20 games last season, and outfielder Sheba Parra slugged five home runs.

Washington Township (22-6). The defending South Jersey Group 4 champion will be led by veterans Kylie Mulholland, Taylor Coroneos and Keli Margiotta along with pitcher Abria Tinsley.

Williamstown (18-6). The Braves have a top pitcher in Tiara Sanabria and a team leader in Ashley Mitchell.

- Phil Anastasia

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