Well, it’s year-end awards time.
OK …just so you know, I’m not announcing the All-Delco team here, so don’t get too excited. Instead, I’m handing out individual and team awards for the season that was (and still is for two Delco teams). These digital awards are all for fun and are based soely . Don’t take offense if someone you know got snubbed, but please leave a comment if you wish to discuss.
Best Tools: Michelle Hagarty, Chichester
I’m not in the minority here — many tournament and high school coaches and players alike believe the Chichester
senior is the best all-around player in the county. And it’s hard to argue that. In fact, I’ve written a couple times, both on Twitter and in print, that no one has the talent of a Michelle Hagarty. She can make any play in her vicinity at shortstop.. She can hit for contact and power, run, throw and field, making her the prototype five-tool player. It’s great to see Hagarty’s season extended beyond the first game of the District One tourney. Hagarty is hitting well over .600 for the season, according to Chichester’s team stats. Chichester made the decision late in the year to move her up to the leadoff spot, a decision that drew some criticism (after all, how do you hit your best player leadoff?). But the decision has paid dividends for the Eagles, who are in the state playoffs for the first time in program history.
Honorable Mention: Sam Tomasetti, Garnet Valley; Lauren Del Romano, Cardinal O’Hara; Savannah Nierintz, Upper Darby; Courtney Scarpato, Springfield.
Best Power Hitter: Bridget Newman, Haverford High
I’ve seen only one player get intentionally walked four times in one season…. and her name is Bridget Newman. The Haverford junior is an intimidating presence who can put on quite a show. She didn’t have the home run totals I might have expected, but she still put up some awesome power numbers, and is clearly the most feared hitter in the Central League. Newman still has to fine-tune her pitching just a bit, but coming back in 2014, she is Player of the Year material in Delco. Her power-hitting can take Haverford a long, long way. That is, if teams don’t constantly try to p[itch around her… which probably will be the case.
Honorable Mention: Molly Rafferty, O’Hara; Savannah Nierintz, Upper Darby; Brandi James, Interboro; Sarah Murray, Chichester; Meghan WImmer, Chichester;
Most Underrated Player: Lauren Scarpato, Springfield.
You might ask: “How can she be underrated? She’s All-Delco!” Yes, the Springfield junior is a two-time (and soon-to-be three-time All-Delco), but if you were to observe Scarpato from afar, you might wonder how she is so good with such a small-ish frame. She plays a premiere spot on the diamond — shortstop — and despite her stature, pretty much gets to everything that comes her way. She is a catalyst in the Springfield lineup and will be the team leader come next season.
Honorable Mention: Olivia Chase, Upper Darby; Taylor Long, Episcopal Academy; Lauren Fortunato, Agnes Irwin; Stacey MacArthur, Delco Christian; Bari Margolis, Radnor; Shannon Moore, Garnet Valley.
Best Pure Hitter: Michelle Hagarty, Chichester
See all of the reasons above. Though she is facing lesser competition, by and large, in the Del Val League, it doesn’t take away from the fact Hagarty is an excellent hitter who can spray the ball to all field. If you put her in the Central League, she’d produce the same results and would be a lethal hitter in any lineup.
Honorable Mention: Lauren Fortunato, Agnes Irwin; Courtney Scarpato, Springfield; Olivia Chase, Upper Darby; Bridget Newman, Haverford; Molly Rafferty, Cardinal O’Hara; Erica DeAngelo, Archbishop Carroll; Amanda Lewis, Sun Valley.
Best Pitcher: Savannah Nierintz, Upper Darby
Of all the categories, pitcher of the year honors was the toughest to decide on. Nierintz, though, dominated the toughest league in the county, posting 10 shutouts and averaging 10-plus strikeouts per game, whist recording a miniscule 1.26 ERA. She took her game to another level in 2013, becoming a pitcher who wasn’t afraid to throw high and inside to intimidate hitters, only to come back with a lethal hook or changeup. On the mound, no one exuded the type of fearlessness and win-at-all-costs attitude quite like Nierintz, who will be a three-time All-Delco.
Honorable Mention: Katie Wenger, Agnes Irwin; Brooke Lachette, Bonner-Prendergast; Bridget Newman, Haverford; Alex Viscusi, Episcopal Academy; Meghan Wimmer, Chichester; Olivia Encarnacion, Interboro
Best Underclassman — Pitcher: Alex Viscusi, Episcopal Academy
All Viscusi has done is pitch every game — every, single inning — for the Churchmen over the last two years. And all she has done is lead EA to back-to-back winning campaigns (thereby turning around a losing program) and lead the team within one victory of an Pa. Independent Schools title. Viscusi will need some more help around if EA wants to cash in on her potential. They have a good, growing nucleus around her. Viscusi is a feared hitter, as well, and is so close to becoming one of the top three pitchers in the county. The Churchmen are in good hands the next two years with Viscusi in the circle.
Honorable Mention: Meghan Wimmer, Chichester; Tori DePietro, Springfield.
Best Underclassman — Position Player: Courtney Scarpato, Springfield
This was a tough one to pick. Scarpato played two ways this year, and figures to continue splitting time as a pitcher and infielder so long as freshman Tori DePietro continues her ascension as one of the best young players in the Central League. Todd Odgers has coached dozens of All-Delcos, and even Daily Times Players of the Year, during his long tenure as coach of the Cougars. But he said of Scarpato’s hitting prowess: “She may be the best I’ve ever coached.” That is high praise for the sophomore, who hit .448 with 23 runs scored.
Honorable Mention: Sam Tomasetti, Garnet Valley
Rookie of the Year: Tori DePietro, Springfield
This award goes to the one player who burst onto the scene, whether they are an underclassmen or a junior or senior. DePietro’s name has been published for what seems like 10 years in the Delco Times. Over the past couple summers, her name has routinely appeared in the youth summer softball roundups. She immediately made an impact as a freshman for the Cougars. She split time pitching and at second base with Courtney Scarpato, hitting .389 with a team-high 26 RBIs. She was also among the top power hitters in the county, bashing five homers. In essence, DePietro’s star is only beginning to shine. Watch out, Central League.
Honorable Mention: Tyler Beccari, Haverford; Alex Maher, Chichester; Brandi James, Interboro; Taylor Long, Episcopal Academy.
Team of the Year: Bonner-Prendergast
The Pandas won the Catholic League championship for the first time since I’ve been alive, cruised to a District 12 championship and are the first Delco-based Catholic school to make the PIAA tournament in softball. Pretty good year. They a slew of good teams — including St. Hubert, O’Hara, Episcopal Academy — and I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a deep run in states.
Honorable Mention: Chichester, Upper Darby, Haverford, Agnes Irwin