HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - After a run as one of the top Group 1 softball teams in the state, Hasbrouck Heights girls softball will be entering a rebuilding year going into 2021. The 2019 team was senior-laden team, but was to return a few key parts for the 2020 season. But that season was canceled, and now the Lady Aviators go into 2021 with a very young team.
Hasbrouck Heights head coach Jackie Ferranti will have a lot of teaching to do during the season, as the shortened pre-season did not help. Nor did the fact that Ferrranti and a handful of players just finished up in volleyball.
How young? Consider that only one player returns who has varsity softball experience, having played on the 2019 team that went 25-4, senior catcher Elizabeth Connelly. A second team All NJIC selection in 2019, Connelly will move behind the plate after having played third base and the outfield.
Senior Makayla Amato is new the varsity, and will be competing for a spot in the outfield, after a year spent with the volleyball team.
The rest of the team are underclassmen, and were not even in high school the last time the Lady Aviators played a game. So while the lineup may be subject to change, there are some positions that can be penciled in, while others are yet to be determined.
Sophomore Catherine King looks to be the new shortstop, with fellow sophomore Mia Gagliano holding down second base. Another sophomore, speedster Brooke Freschi will handle center field, and is a three-sport athlete, playing volleyball and running winter track.
Another sophomore, Meghan Stellhorn, is on the mound for the Lady Aviators this year. She, too, is a three sport athlete, having played basketball and volleyball in the winter.
Sophomore Maria Manis will see time at first base, although she will be challenged by freshman Caylie Daniels. Sophomore Sophie D’Inncenzi is listed as a utility player, and is freshman Anna Lisse Vazquez.
Freshman Morgan Gagliano is listed as an outfielder, while fellow freshman Madison Ejird will see time in the infield.
“Without having a season last year, it is like having two groups of freshman” Ferranti stated. “We have talent, but we will take time to develop and figure out how we work as a team. Many of the teams will face the same problems.”
“We are rebuilding due to our young age,“ Ferranti concluded. “Hopefully our strength will be to learn from our mistakes and get better as the season goes on.”