Written by Vinny Messana, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 13 March 2014 12:01
Although the Garden City girls softball team lost nine seniors to graduation last year, do not mistake that for being in a rebuilding mode. The team has a new wave of veteran players; some of them still underclassmen, according to Head Coach Melissa Reichman.
Last year’s squad finished with an 11-5 record. But its season ended in the first round of the playoffs with a 9-0 loss to Wantagh. Luckily, many Lady Trojan starters will be returning.
“We have our pitching staff intact,” said Reichman. Returning will be freshman Melissa Ward, an All-Division player who has been playing with the varsity team since 7th grade and compiled a 7-2 record on the mound in 2013. The other starting pitcher, Erin Cunningham, is also a freshman but already has two years of varsity experience, finishing with a 5-1 record last season.
“We have a young, but up-and-coming team. Pitching will be our strength,” said Reichman, who is in her sixth year with the program. Reichman noted that the team has been improving each year and the success is not limited to the results on the field, but the improvement in the players.
The team will be forced to replace some of its core offensive players from the past year including Victoria D’Antone. Her terrific season culminated in an April 24 performance against Roslyn in which she drove in five runs, including a three-run home run.
Expected to fill that role on offense will be senior Ashley Nessler. “Ashley has already stepped up to be a leader on this team, and she will be our leading power-hitter,” said Reichman. Setting the tone for her will be Emily Quigley, a slap hitter who Reichman says “will be very important to this team in the lead-off spot.” The pitchers will also contribute on offense. Last year Ward even hit a home run in a game in which she tossed a complete game.
The team will play in Conference III, and they have been selected by the coaches of the conference to finish in first place. They will open up their season on March 21 against Floral Park.