SOMERS, N.Y.— For a team that only won a single game last year, Somers is as excited and prepared as ever to start its softball season.
“The intensity and pace of practice is a lot higher, which we needed,” said senior second baseman Julia Sciacca, a team captain. “Coach (Dave Scagnelli) gives us constructive criticism and everything is more fast paced.”
New coach Dave Scagnelli, who takes over for Meredith Polansky, is already preaching the importance of preparation and communication in the field. He has coached the sport for 25 years, including 20 years most recently as Scarsdale’s varsity coach.
“I am looking to give the girls a first-rate softball program from top to bottom,” Scagnelli said. “First goal is to get the girls to communicate more and make our practices prepare the girls for everything that is going to happen this year. We want to be a team that is going to compete with the highest level teams in Section 1.”
Although they are younger, the Tuskers look to use the little things to create a breakout season. There are only two seniors and two juniors on the roster, along with six key sophomores.
“My goal is to make sure we are competitive in every game we play,” Scagnelli said. “We need to change the mindset so that the girls are confident and know that we are going to be competitive every time we step on the field.”
Beefing up the middle of the lineup should be power-hitting sophomores Gabby Mazzotta and Tori Pagliaro. Mazzotta will catch this season and third-year varsity player Pagliaro will start on the mound.
“Pitching was tough last year but the most important thing is to stay positive even when times get tough,” Pagliaro said. “We are a young team, but are getting the little things perfected. We also do situational hitting always with runners on base in practice. It will really prepare us for games.”
Left-handed bat Jillian Carlisto is going to hold down first base while sophomore Karly Moscarello handles shortstop. Another sophomore in Nikki Fiorino rounds out the infield at third base.
“We have been practicing harder,” Carlisto said. “Our motto is practice to play against the best team that we are going to play. I want to see how we do against [Lakeland] with this new mindset.”
Yielding a deep outfield, the Tuskers plan to start sophomore Sabrina Balfe in right field and sophomore Jazmyn Colon in left.
“One thing that [coach] is really drilling into us is communication on the field,” Sciacca said. “When we first started, nobody talked or anything. Now we are making a point of everyone being on the same page. He says every practice that we have to be the most prepared team in Section 1 regarding everything.”
Junior center fielder Kelsey Lavin is their speedster and senior Brittney Morel will be a backup in right field. An additional sophomore in Amanda Polito will serve as a second-string outfielder and first baseman.
“There is more energy and we are definitely going in more prepared this year,” Lavin said.
Both Carlisto and Colon will pitch out of the bullpen or start on Pagliaro’s off-days.
Somers opened the season at Fox Lane on March 29.