CEDAR GROVE, NJ - After a historic three years in black and gold the quintet of seniors for the Cedar Grove High School Softball squad will move onto bigger heights as they move onto the next stage of their lives.
“These five seniors have many accomplishments under their belts,” said Head Coach Nikki Velardi.
The five seniors were able to amass a lifetime’s worth of noteworthy accolades in their tenure at CGHS. The group led off with State Sectional Titles in all three years they played, added Two Group State Titles, two conference titles, an Essex County Tournament Title and two trips to the Tournament of Champions.
The group starts at the hot corner with Brittany Taylor. Taylor in addition to batting .320 provided excellent defense against bunters and line drive hits.
“[Taylor is a] Confident player who knows where she stands. Played assertively until the game ends. Always have her best effort,” Verlardi said.
Chloe Weinstein backed up Taylor in the outfield for the Panthers the previous season. A consummate team-player whose leadership showed in other sports as well, produced nearly one run scored per game during the 2018-2019 season.
“[Weinstein is a] versatile athlete who could play any position I put her in. An open-minded player that follows instructions, she’s an awesome teammate who supported and helped others,” said Velardi.
For Weinstein the biggest takeaway from her four years as a Panther will be the hero's welcome from the town after winning the State Championship.
“My favorite memory is the bus rides home after winning states with the fire truck’s sirens, cars beeping, people from town outside their houses waving, and the cheering on the bus,” said Weinstein.
Joining Weinstein in the outfield was three-year veteran Gianna Kubu who’s playing days will continue at Hartford University next year. Kubu was a well-rounded player constantly filling up the stat sheet in one form or another.
“I am going to miss the feeling of getting hyped before every game, the motivation and laughs we had at every practice, and hitting our sign as we ran out onto the field before every game,” said Kubu.
Along the infield Alyssa Coletta headed up the first base position. Coletta batted .384 last season with 15 runs batted in for the group. Coletta showed tremendous resilience over the past year bouncing back from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for a portion of her sophomore campaign.
“My favorite memory was the excitement of being on the field in the Tournament of Champions final two…the thing I will miss most is all of the memories that have been made over these past four years,” said Coletta.
Rounding out the group was catcher Julianna Cicala who, like Kubu, will continue playing next year at Post University. Cicala always seemed to find a way to be part of key offensive rally’s for the Panthers including the game-winning double last season against Hasbrouck Heights in the State Section Title game.
“My favorite memory was hitting a double to break the scoreless 5th inning to win the sectional title against Hasbrouck Heights in 2019,” said Julianna Cicala.
While some will continue to play onward after their historic success the group will forever be bonded by the time spent together growing as both players and young adults as part of the Panther Softball Team.
TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.
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