MONTVILLE, NJ – As the Montville Township High School varsity softball team readies for its 2014 season, coaches and players hope to emulate and surpass last year’s success.

Last spring, the team finished the season strong with a 19-10 record, making it to the Morris County Tournament as an 11th seed but losing in the finals. The team’s goals this season are to win the county championship and compete in the state tournament.

“We are very excited for the upcoming season, with nine returning lettermen,” head coach John Immediato said.  “Our experience and exposure from last year will help us be ready to play hard this year.”

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However, he said there are no easy teams in Montville’s division and every game will be viewed as a battle.

The team’s captains for this season are seniors Jessica Shalongo and Megan Patierno.

Shalongo, the team’s starting pitcher, has four years of varsity experience. Last year she went 18-5 with a 1.69 ERA and had 137 strike-outs. Immediato has seen even more improvement in her since last year.  

“I am confident that Jessica will have a good season this year and help us win a lot of ball games,” Immediato said.

Patierno is also a fourth year starter and “anchors the infield” at shortstop. Patierno holds the school record for career home-runs (16) and is tied for the single-season record with 10. Patierno signed her National Letter of Intent to play softball at Hofstra University in the fall.

“I am looking for Megan to be a leader on the field,” Immediato said. “She is also the hitter that opposing teams fear when they play us.” 

The team’s starting catcher, Tami Lake, is also returning. As the team’s top bunter, Lake had eight sacrifices last season.

“Tami is solid behind the plate with a strong throwing arm and an overall leader in the field,” Immediato said.

Outfielder and pitcher, Brittany Presto, another returning senior is “someone who has improved throughout her career in her position in the outfield and has helped solidify our pitching staff as our number two pitcher,” Immediato said.

Additionally, Immediato commented that, as a whole, he is looking for the juniors on the team to “step it up” this year and round out the team with their solid contributions. 

Some of the newcomers to the varsity team this season are 11th-graders Christina Kaminskij and Sia Geiger and ninth-grader Kristie Monaco.

The Lady Mustang’s varsity softball team will open up its regular season with a home game against Morris Hills at 4 p.m. on April 1.