Attend a Fenwick High School girls softball game and you’ll likely find head coach Mike Marrese shouting words of encouragement to his players regardless of score, situation or opponent. This spring, the third-year head coach of the Friars justifiably has a lot to be excited considering the Friars’ talent pool this season.
Senior Valerie Perrelli leads the pitching staff this spring. Although her 13-11 record may not jump off the page, she is an excellent pitcher who triggered the Friars’ magical run in 2013 to a sectional championship. She’s also a solid first baseman who hit .318 with a .371 on-base percentage and .449 slugging percentage last season.
Fenwick will also be strong up the middle of the infield with sophomore shortstop Giselle Diaz and sophomore second baseman Natalie Cairo. Diaz batted .304 with an on-base percentage of .360 last spring, while Cairo hit .234 with a .372 slugging percentage. Both middle infielders are plus defenders. Senior third baseman/outfielder Genesis Fuentes is another returning starter.
“Valerie will be our ace on the mound,” Marrese said. “Genesis, Giselle and Natalie are strong defensively. All four can hit for power and are great team leaders. I like the makeup of our team. My two goals are the same every season- win conference and win state.”
Brianna McCormick, Grace Tucek, Kayley Sherwood, Bri Keys and Amanda Lopez could also see substantial playing time.
The Blazers will look to extend their impressive run of 10 straight regional titles this spring. Trinity (23-13) closed out last season with a 3-2 loss in a sectional final.
“We have really good chemistry on this team,” pitcher Cortlyn Kelly said. “We’re a lot closer than we ever were before. Our goal is to definitely win a sectional. It’s all about staying confident.”
Rutgers-bound shortstop Anyssa Iliopoulos, infielder Brynisha Campbell and third baseman/outfielder Carina Jimenez and Kelly spearhead a solid lineup.
“Anyssa had 13 home runs last year, and she is always a consistent hitter,” Trinity coach Bob Osborne said. “Campbell batted over .400 [last year] and she’ll definitely break out on the scene this year. Kelly moves the ball and changes speeds really well, She’s turning into a great leader for the team too.”
Newcomers include sophomore first basemen/pitcher Ashley Bock, junior third baseman/pitcher Gabi Fitzpatrick, and freshman outfielder Gabby Buikema.