Krista King will help lead Kellenberg as the Firebirds defend their CHSAA state championship. The junior second baseman leads off and has plenty of help in the middle of the order, led by senior shortstop Amanda Crimarco and All-League third baseman Stephanie Staiano.
"Basically, that's my infield," Firebirds coach Ken Conrade said. "All three are standouts. I think they remain hungry, but confident."
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Senior pitcher Sabrina DeAngelis takes over for last year's CHSAA Pitcher of the Year, Susan Pardo.
St. Anthony's Michelle Carbone, a former CHSAA Pitcher of the Year, will anchor the rotation, along with Aileen Reilly, an All-League pitcher, who will alternate at first base with Carbone (Stonehill College).
Taylor Lester, who played third base last season, is expected to move back to her natural position in the outfield. Coach Michael Massa enters his fifth season at St. Anthony's and 21st varsity season overall just 12 wins away from No. 300.
"Between the pitching and Taylor, we have some young, talented kids," Massa said. "It all depends on how quickly they mature."
St. John the Baptist will be in contention thanks to a majority of players returning from last season, led by senior first baseman Kaitlin Hoffmann, who will anchor the Cougars' defense. Junior pitcher Sofia Evangelista has improved her speed and ball movement.
Centerfielder Gabby Barilli provides stability in the outfield and also makes Sacred Heart a tough team on defense. The four-year starter is a terror in the No. 2 hole because of her ability to steal bases, which bodes well for the middle of the order, featuring leadoff hitter Kaitlyn Gorman and No. 3 batter Maggie Rogers.
St. Dominic may be very young this year, but it does have two returning starting seniors in All-League pitcher/first baseman Amanda Finn and catcher/outfielder Toniann Pasqueralle.
The Bayhawks' goal is to finish in the top four and make the round-robin, double-elimination postseason tournament.