BISHOP EUSTACE CRUSADERS
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Two all-conference first-team selections are back to lead Bishop Eustace: seniors Lauren Punk and Carli Davy. Punk, a shortstop who has committed to La Salle, hit .313 and led the Crusaders with four home runs last year. Davy, a center fielder and leadoff hitter, is sensational at getting on base, as she batted .420 with 11 walks and scored 20 runs. All-conference second-teamer Natalie Calabrese (.340) and fellow senior Victoria Rizzo (.333) are three-year starters in the outfield, and senior Madison Grubb is back for her third varsity season behind the plate. Sophomore Nella Sciorra earned the second base job as a rookie and hit .395 with 13 runs. Senior Hannah Murphy returns as the No. 1 pitcher and Calabrese will also see time in the circle.
OUTLOOK: Last year was a rare rebuilding season for the Crusaders, but they should be much improved with most of the starting lineup returning.
CAMDEN CATHOLIC FIGHTING IRISH
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Almost the entire roster is back for Camden Catholic, including junior standout Madison Marks, a key player in the circle and at the plate. The ace pitcher recorded a 2.09 ERA with 118 strikeouts and also batted .411 with three home runs and 18 RBIs on her way to all-conference first-team recognition. Junior outfielder Caroline Amorelli hit .391 with a team-high four home runs and 22 RBIs to garner all-conference second-team honors. Other key pieces of the lineup are senior infielder Eva Meldrum, sophomore first baseman Carlee Karcher and sophomore outfielder Nicole Douglas, who each had 19 hits. Other returning starters are senior catcher Bri Denner and junior infielders Jillian Orcutt and Isabella Ilagan, while Breanne Nunn is a senior contributor.
OUTLOOK: The Fighting Irish went 16-7 in 2019—a nine-win improvement from the year before— earned a share of the Olympic Conference National Division title and reached the sectional quarterfinals. With their talented junior class leading the charge, they look to be division contenders again.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior pitcher Karly Messina has been a standout for Cherokee since she came on the scene as a freshman, and it will be exciting to see what she can do in her final season. She posted a 2.48 ERA and 112 strikeouts as a junior and also batted .349 to earn all-conference first-team and all-South Jersey accolades for the second straight season. Junior catcher Marissa Ditore and senior shortstop Adrianna Shannon are key hitters in the middle of the lineup and sophomore first baseman Madison Donnelly compiled a .318 batting aver- age as a rookie. Senior infielder Isabella Witham and senior outfielder Alexa McNee are other returning starters and sophomore third baseman/catcher Paige Brennan will also contribute.
OUTLOOK: The Chiefs’ 12-8 record last year included their third consecutive Olympic Conference American Division title. With Messina in the circle for one last ride, they will aim to make it four straight this spring.
CHERRY HILL EAST COUGARS
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Although several key players graduated, Cherry Hill East is excited about the talent remaining in the program. Sophomore Hannah Pollock flashed a lot of potential as a rookie and will be a difference-maker at the plate, in the circle and at third base. Senior Christina Farley is another experienced pitcher and junior Rachel Bliss is a three-year starter at shortstop. Senior Morgan Pierce returns at third base and senior outfielder/second baseman Josie Williams will also be counted on in the lineup.
OUTLOOK: The Cougars made strides in a 5-15 season, as they earned an impressive win over Shawnee and qualified for the playoffs. Look for the progress to continue in 2020.
CHERRY HILL WEST LIONS
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jessica Bianco’s fabulous freshman season at Cherry Hill West included 30 hits, 34 runs and 26 steals, and she was also the Lions’ No. 1 pitcher on her way to all-conference second-team honors. It will be interesting to see what she does for an encore this spring. Junior infielder Meredith Brickner also made the all-conference second team after hitting .357 with 20 RBIs, and junior Isabella Sylvester is another key hitter who batted .410 with three home runs and 26 RBIs. Sylvester—who is expected to take over as the starting catcher— and Brickner were both selected for the Olympic-Colonial team and played in the Carpenter Cup. Senior first baseman Foster Schaffer (.294, 17 RBIs) is another returning starter. Junior infielder/catcher Sophia Arcinese and junior outfielder Kayla Thompson are experienced position players and sophomore Camryn Kitchin adds depth on the pitching staff.
OUTLOOK: The Lions posted a 12-8 record and advanced to the sectional semifinals in a successful 2019 season. They expect to remain competitive behind their solid core of returners.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior catcher Jenna Patterson has been a fixture behind the plate since her freshman year and will look to close out her career at Clearview with another strong season. She batted .333 with four home runs and 15 RBIs to make the all-conference second team in 2019. Junior Devon Ellixson will once again be throwing to Patterson after handling the pitching duties the last two years, and could be in line for a breakout season. Senior infielder Gabrielle Hertlein and sophomore outfielder Brooke McGuigan are other returning everyday players. Senior Sarah McGrath and juniors Madison Vallone and McKayla Reilly are experienced outfielders and sophomore Angelina Rinaldi saw time in the infield as a freshman.
OUTLOOK: A lot of young players gained valuable experience during a 5-13 season, and that should pay off for the Pioneers this spring.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior outfielder Chandler Mitchell is coming off a terrific junior season in which she led Eastern in hits and made the all-conference first team. The Hartford University commit will once again be a difference-maker for the Vikings at the plate and on the basepaths with her speed. Senior outfielder D’Aaliyah Patterson, an all-conference second-teamer, and senior first baseman Kayla Ottaviano are other key pieces of the lineup. Junior Hannah Kates is an experienced infielder and sophomore Bella Lynch could be ready for a bigger role after showing promise as a freshman. Senior Leah Rinne saw time in the circle last year and is a candidate to take over as the No. 1 pitcher.
OUTLOOK: The Vikings went 10-11 and lost in the first round of the playoffs in the final season for coach Laura Paquette, who stepped down after compiling a 91-44 record in five years at the helm. Eastern always seems to be one of the stronger teams in the Olympic Conference American Division, and new coach Rich Gilmore will look to keep it that way.
GLOUCESTER CATHOLIC RAMS
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Gloucester Catholic did not have a single senior in 2019, so there is a lot of talent returning, including four all-conference players. Senior shortstop Maddie Burnite batted .479 with 26 runs and 22 RBIs, and she was joined on the all-conference first team by junior center fielder Abby Laphan, who hit .415 with 26 runs and 12 steals out of the leadoff spot. Senior catcher Madi Baldwin was also an all-conference first-teamer; a four-year starter behind the plate, she hit .364 with 19 runs. Sophomore pitcher Cambrie Todd made an immediate impact as a rookie, posting a .280 ERA while hitting .525 with nine doubles, two home runs and 26 RBIs. She made the all-conference second team. Other top returners are senior outfielder Sara Hussey (.391, 11 extra-base hits); junior third baseman Lucea Hutchinson (.373, 15 RBIs); and sophomore outfielder Anna Kain (.429).
OUTLOOK: After posting a 7-7 record in 2019, it would not be surprising to see the Rams take a big leap this year behind senior leaders like Burnite and Baldwin.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Haddonfield graduated both of its all-conference players and will be counting on new leaders this spring. One of the key veterans is senior Abby Mackey, a three-year starter who was third on the team in hits last season. Sophomores Grace Martin and Tabitha Thorpe both started as rookies and are expected to be major contributors as well. Bella Regina and Amelia Dunn are juniors to watch, while Halina Haciski is another sophomore who earned time. A talented freshman class could also land several players on the varsity roster.
OUTLOOK: After gaining valuable experience last year, Haddonfield’s young core is expected to help the Bulldawgs improve on a 5-14 season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Kingsway brings back a fantastic nucleus from last year’s sectional championship team, so hopes are high in Woolwich. Leading the way is junior shortstop Sarah Cancila, who had team-highs with 43 hits, a .453 batting average and 27 runs on her way to all-South Jersey and all-conference first-team accolades. She already has 87 hits and her career is only halfway over. Two other returners made the all-conference first team: junior outfielder Tori Lipka, who hit .354 with two home runs and 22 RBIs, and junior pitcher Marina Costello, who recorded a 2.15 ERA and 109 strikeouts and batted .345. Senior third baseman Siyana Begey had a .423 average, led the Dragons with five home runs and 29 RBIs and made the all-conference second team along with junior outfielder Rachel Robichaud (.329, 21 runs). Senior outfielder Taylor Campagna (.310, 19 runs)—who is committed to Millersville—and sophomore third baseman/outfielder Delany Patella (.375, 24 RBIs) are other major contributors.
OUTLOOK: Last season was a memorable one for the Dragons, who went 18-6 and claimed the first South Jersey Group IV title in program history, their first sectional crown since 2013. Although repeating is always a difficult task, expect Kingsway to be in the mix again under new head coach Jill Ward.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior second baseman Sammy Lish was among Lenape’s team leaders in hits, runs and RBIs as a junior and is primed for another big season after making the all-South Jersey and all-conference first teams. Senior out- fielder/first baseman Avery Bartolomeo is another standout hitter who made the all-conference second team. Sophomore Kyra Fischer emerged as the Indians’ ace pitcher as a rookie and posted a 2.96 ERA with 52 strikeouts, and junior Ava Leibovitz adds depth in the circle. Catcher Emma Murphy, shortstop Olivia Johnstone and outfielder Livy Rosenblatt are juniors who contributed as sophomores and will be key players as well.
OUTLOOK: The Indians have posted back-to-back winning seasons—including a 12-5 record last spring—and will look to take things a step further by contending for a division title or going on a long playoff run in 2020.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: A talented senior class that helped Moorestown make program history last spring is back for more, and leading the way once again is center fielder Erika Heffernen. She compiled a .456 batting average last year and recorded her 100th career hit, and was rewarded with all-South Jersey and all-conference first-team honors. Senior Elyssa Bohr, the ace of the pitching staff, made the all-conference second team and is looking forward to a big final season before moving on to Penn State-Abington. Shortstop/pitcher Julianna LaRusso is another key senior who led the Quakers in home runs and RBIs—including a grand slam that sent them to the sectional final. Junior left fielder Maria Heffernen and sophomore infielder Christina Carideo are other returning starters.
OUTLOOK: The Quakers are coming off a memorable 13-10 season in which they reached the sectional final for the first time ever. They have the potential for another successful year behind Heffernen and Bohr.
PAUL VI EAGLES
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The excitement level is high at Paul VI with the entire roster returning from a strong 2019 campaign. At the top of the list is senior catcher Morgan Fisher, an all-South Jersey and all-conference first-team choice who led the Eagles with 49 hits, 16 doubles and six home runs. Fisher, a four-year starter who is committed to New Haven, also had a .521 average, 29 runs and 26 RBIs. Sophomore pitcher Mac Champion joined her battery mate on the all-conference first team after a superb rookie season in which she posted a 2.67 ERA and fanned 78. She also hit .381 with three homers and drove in 29. Senior first baseman Emily MacGibeny batted .378 with 11 extra-base hits and 32 runs to make the all-conference first team, while second baseman Jordan Mader (20 hits, 20 walks) and third baseman Lilly St. Jean (.357, 27 runs) were both all-conference second-teamers as freshmen. Senior outfielder Emma Laliberte, junior outfielder/pitcher Alexa Caulder and sophomore shortstop Alexa Lee are other full-time returning starters. Nevaeh Terrell, Jayla Gonzales and Bryana Driscoll are sophomore outfielders who saw significant time as rookies and junior Alicia Gotts is an experienced outfielder/pitcher.
OUTLOOK: The Eagles improved their record by nine wins last year, as they reached the sectional semifinals and finished with a 16-10 mark. Another successful season is on the horizon as they expect to contend in the Olympic Conference National Division.
SENECA GOLDEN EAGLES
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Seneca graduated several key players—including career hits leader Madison Melvin—but still brings back a talented roster. Junior pitcher Emily Spencer has already put together two outstanding seasons and it will be exciting to see what she can do as an upperclassman. She posted a 2.06 ERA with 193 strikeouts and batted .414 with a team-high 29 RBIs last spring to make the all-South Jersey and all-conference first teams. Junior outfielder Hailey Melvin also made the all-conference first team after batting .380 with 21 runs scored. Junior catcher Alaina Spates hit .350 with 19 RBIs, and other returning starters are junior second baseman Chloe Trefz and senior outfielder Alexis Vernier. Senior pitcher/outfielder Madasyn Vernier—Alexis’ twin sister—is returning from an injury she suffered early last season while making an amazing diving catch. She is expected to play a big role along with junior outfielder/infielder Megan DuBois and sophomore second baseman/shortstop Alex Miller.
OUTLOOK: The Golden Eagles are coming off another successful season, as they went 15-6, earned a share of the Olympic Conference National Division title and lost a 1-0 game in 10 innings to eventual sectional champion Delsea in the quarterfinals. With Spencer in the circle and several talented hitters, hopes remain high.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Shawnee has a solid core to build around, including junior third baseman Bryele Anthony, who batted over .300 and made the all-conference first team as a sophomore. Sophomore first baseman Lauren Petitt had an immediate impact, as she was among the team leaders in hits and earned all-conference second-team recognition. Senior outfielder Melissa Bercun was also an all-conference second-teamer, and other returning starters in the outfield are seniors Erin Florio and Anna Swerdlow, who could take over as the primary pitcher. Infielders Isabela Howard and Anna Katherine Prestridge joined Petitt as rookie starters last year and outfielder Michaela Pierznik also saw time as a freshman.
OUTLOOK: The Renegades’ 14-7 season included a berth in the South Jersey Group IV sectional final. Although they have some spots to fill, particularly in the circle, they hope to remain competitive as the talented sophomores continue to improve.
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP MINUTEMAIDS
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior outfielder Peyton Ensign and junior second baseman Samantha Bagosy were both among Washington Township’s leaders in batting average last year and were rewarded with all-conference second-team honors. They will be key players for the Minutemaids once again this spring. Juniors Angelina Saverase and Juliana Zorn gained valuable varsity experience in the circle and should only get better as upperclassmen. Other veterans expected to play major roles are senior first baseman Julianna Ruffino, senior third baseman Carly Quint and junior outfielder Marisa Oldrati. Sophomore Laura Wilson saw varsity time as a freshman and should also be in the mix.
OUTLOOK: The Minutemaids had several quality wins last year and finished with a 10-10 record after losing to eventual champion Kingsway in the first round of the playoffs. They have the potential for a winning season and longer playoff run this spring.
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