FCIAC SOFTBALL PREVIEW St. Joseph will try to go 5 for 6
The town of Trumbull should once again be the epicenter of the FCIAC girls softball universe in 2019.
Defending Class M champion St. Joseph will be vying for its fifth FCIAC title in six years. Trumbull will look to go one step further as the Eagles fell to St. Joseph in the 2018 FCIAC championship final and were defeated by Amity in the 2018 Class LL state final.
Trinity Catholic returns to action in the FCIAC after a one-year hiatus due to low roster numbers. It means the FCIAC will have 17 teams in 2019. The result will be byes for schools who can beef up their non-league schedule to help their CIAC rankings.
5 TEAMS TO WATCH
St. Joseph: Veteran coach Jeff Babineau’s Cadets remain the team with the bull’s-eye on its back in 2019 after capturing both the FCIAC championship (6-0 over Trumbull) and the Class M title (5-2 over Griswold) last season. St. Joseph graduated just two seniors — co-captains and All-FCIAC first-team selections Hannah Hutchinson and Kayla Giacobbe from last year. Junior pitcher Payton Doiron will keep the Cadets focused again on the big prizes in 2019.
Trumbull: Coach Jacqui Sheftz will have the Eagles soaring again as Trumbull graduated just three seniors from its FCIAC runner-up, Class LL runner-up squad. Pitchers Emily Gell (All-FCIAC first team) and junior Mackenzie Bruggeman should dominate on the mound. All-FCIAC first-team seniors Alexa Adinolfi and Maggie Coffin will spark the offense.
Stamford: A very young Stamford squad closed out the 2018 season strong to reach the FCIAC semifinals and Class LL second round in 2018. The Black Knights graduated just two seniors — Gloria Mattioli and Tonianne Ferraro — from that group. Coach Melissa Giordano will lean on sophomore pitcher Kim Saunders. Senior captain and All-FCIAC first-team choice shortstop Dana Serricchio, the Jeterian swing of sophomore Jordan Rossi and senior Diana Magarian will key the offense. Senior catcher Amy Covino will be a critical component to SHS’ success in 2019.
Ludlowe: The experience gained in its 13-2 league, 17-6 overall season in 2018 will serve the Falcons well in 2019. Everyone returns for Ludlowe and coach Lou Bunosso. Junior pitcher Kylee Holderied (1.77 ERA, 175 strikeouts in 142 innings), junior infielder Elizabeth Doolan (23 RBIs), All-FCIAC first-team selection Caitlyn Romero (32 RBIs) and sophomore shortstop Allison Clark (.400, 32 runs scored) will lead the way.
Ridgefield: The Tigers graduated just one senior — Mallory Shofi — from their 2018 squad. Ridgefield is not a team to sleep on in 2019. Coach Lauren Greywacz has a number of pitching options to choose from. Junior catcher Claire Filaski, senior outfielder Lauren Bayer and sophomore Skylar Arent will lead the offense.
5 PLAYERS TO WATCH
Payton Doiron, St. Joseph, junior: The hurler handcuffed the FCIAC and Class M hitters at every turn of the 2018 season. According to MaxPreps, Doiron was 14-3 with 11 complete games and two saves while striking out 147 batters in 110 innings. Her ERA was 1.53 while opposing hitters batted .183.
Emily Gell, Trumbull, junior: The hurler was a key component who propelled the Eagles to the FCIAC final and the Class LL final.
Kim Saunders, Stamford High, sophomore: Was the Black Knights’ No. 1 pitcher as well as a consistent threat to go yard at SHS’ windy home diamond. Should be a year stronger and a year wiser in 2019.
Caitlyn Romero, Ludlowe, sophomore: Amassed five homers and 32 RBI to be an All-FCIAC first-team selection as the centerpiece of a potent Ludlowe offense.
Sophia Strazza, Wilton, senior: The Warriors’ captain posted a .397 average with 21 RBIs last year according to MaxPreps and was an All-FCIAC first-team selection.
5 GAMES TO WATCH
Masuk at St. Joseph, Saturday, March 30, 1 p.m.: The 2018 Class L champ Masuk battles 2018 Class M champion St. Joseph in what should be a high-energy non-league season opener for both sides.
Ridgefield at Trinity Catholic, Monday, April 8, 4 p.m.: For Trinity Catholic, it will be its first FCIAC home contest after taking a one-year softball hiatus in 2018 due to dwindling roster numbers. Wally Hurd is the Crusaders’ new coach as the team plays on remodeled May Kay Smith Memorial Field.
Trumbull at St. Joseph, Tuesday, April 30, 4:30 p.m.: A rematch of the 2018 FCIAC championship final won by St. Joseph, 6-0. Trumbull looks to stop its suburban archrival from winning its fifth FCIAC title in six years.
New Canaan at Darien, Friday, May 3, 4 p.m.: It’s always rivalry time no matter what sport brings these schools together. Darien returns most of what was a very young roster in 2018.
Stamford at Westhill, Wednesday, May 8, 4 p.m.: Stamford, which reached the 2018 FCIAC semifinals, should be in the thick of things once again. Westhill’s veteran coach Tom Pia should reap the benefits of having 90 percent of his roster back from the 4-16 debacle of 2018.