SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ -- The Scotch Plains-Fanwood softball team is anticipating the start of their season after missing out on the entirety of the spring sports season in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Led by seniors Abby Conklin, Mia Aponte, and Madison Bush, the girls are looking to come together as a unit and play for each other each and every game to have the strongest season they possibly can despite the challenges they will face between injuries and players who have moved on from the team. All but three players will be new to the varsity team. Coach Jessica Hulnik says this could be one of those years when the starting line-up changes game to game, until they are able to find the right combination.
“We have a talented group, and practices have been competitive, but with only three returning varsity players, it could take a few games to figure out who should be where in the field and in the batting order,” said Hulnik. “I am very excited to get started this year and see exactly what we have.”
With many girls graduating in the class of 2020 -- including SS Julia Solsky, OF Kelly Nitti, IF Kayla Nitti, Catcher Cassidy Novello, and 2B Chrissy Gubernat -- the team has some big shoes to fill.
Despite losing so many key contributors to the pandemic ridden spring and their inevitable graduation, Coach Hulnik has made some key additions to the team who she expects to perform well and have strong seasons. Senior OF Madison Bush and Mia Aponte, Junior Catcher/OF Zoe Kekelis, Junior OF Aislinn Mooney, Sophomore 3B/SS Brianna Davy, Sophomore IF/OF Kady Rettino, Sophomore OF/1B Angie Diaco, Freshman Pitcher/OF Sairah Llano, Freshman Pitcher/OF Julia Tiedmann, and Freshman IF Julia Freidrichs are expected to have breakout seasons and help to grow the program back after graduating so many key players over the past few years.
Coach Hulnik is relying on Senior IF Abby Conklin, Junior pitcher Maeve Kahora, and Junior Catcher/1B Sophia Lerner in \clutch moments this season. She is excited to see what the future has in store for her program. “We are going to have a great time just getting to play high school softball again,” said Hulnik.
Gov. Livingston 9 - Scotch Plains-Fanwood 4
Gov. Livingston pitcher Kayley Zazzali tossed a complete game two-hitter against the Raiders on Opening Day. She held the Raiders scoreless for six innings until SPF broke through with four runs in the bottom of the frame.
Sophia Lerner hit a blast that looked like it would clear the fence, but instead was a two-run double. Zoe Kekelis and Kady Rettino each had RBI singles.
Kate Granelli went 4-4 for Gov. Livingston. Avery Sullivan had two hits and an RBI. Anna Popola had a triple. Kelly Hanratty went 2-4 with an RBI.
Next up for the Raiders: an away game vs. Arthur L. Johnson High School (Clark, NJ) on Wednesday, April 21. Gov. Livingston next plays Dayton on Thursday, April 22.
- Monday, Apr 19, at 4:00 p.m. vs. Governor Livingston at Scotch Plains-Fanwood, L, 9-4
- Wednesday, Apr 21, at 4:00 p.m. away vs. Arthur L. Johnson High School (Clark, NJ)
- Thursday, Apr 22, at 4:00 p.m. away vs. Elizabeth
- Saturday, Apr 24, at 10:00 a.m. vs. Chatham at Scotch Plains-Fanwood
- Tuesday, Apr 27, at 4:00 p.m. vs. Westfield at Scotch Plains-Fanwood
- Thursday, Apr 29, at 4:00 p.m. away vs. Roselle Park Roselle Park High School
- Friday, Apr 30, at 4:00 p.m. vs. Cranford at Scotch Plains-Fanwood
- Saturday, May 1, Tournament TBD Away vs. Multiple Schools at Villa Walsh Academy
- Tuesday, May 4, at 4:00 p.m. vs. Union at Scotch Plains-Fanwood
- Thursday, May 6, at 4:00 p.m. away vs. Union Catholic
- Friday, May 7, at 4:00 p.m. vs. Summit at Scotch Plains-Fanwood
- Saturday, May 8, at 11:00 a.m. vs. New Providence
- Monday, May 10, at 4:00 p.m. away vs. Jonathan Dayton (Springfield, NJ)
- Thursday, May 13, at 4:00 p.m. away vs. Union
- Friday, May 14, at 4:00 p.m. vs. Union Catholic Regional
- Wednesday, May 19, at 4:00 p.m. away vs. Bridgewater-Raritan
- Thursday, May 20, at 4:00 p.m. away vs. Summit - Memorial Field/Park
- Monday, May 24, at 4:00 p.m. vs. Jonathan Dayton at Scotch Plains-Fanwood
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