Softball: Preseason Super 7

Marple Newtown and All-Delco shortstop Rylee Power hope to build on a strong 2014 season. Did the Tigers crack the first Super 7?

Spring hasn’t sprung quite yet for softball teams in Delaware County. The first day of the season, Friday, March 20, was completely bagged due to Mother Nature dropping inches of snow in the area. It could take a few more days to prepare the fields, so while we wait, I bring you the first edition of the Daily Times Super 7, Enjoy.

The general consensus in Delco is there’s simply not enough experienced pitching and several teams are in transition. We’ll see how everything plays out.

1. Springfield

Well, this one is a no-brainer.

The Cougars embarked on a memorable journey last spring, ending at Penn State University in the PIAA Class AAA championship contest. Springfield became the first softball team from Delco to win a state crown, downing Bethlehem Catholic, 3-0. This year’s team has all the right pieces to make a deep playoff run, but it’s worth noting the Cougars are now a Class AAAA program.

Back in the saddle are All-Delco pitchers/shortstops Courtney Scarpato and Tori DePietro, as well as All-Delco centerfielder Taylor Winkelman. This is a loaded team with a championship resume.

Oh, and it’s easy forget the Cougars captured the Central League title last year, too. They’ll be the odds-on favorites to repeat.

2. Episcopal Academy

So long as 2014 Daily Times Player of the Year Alex Viscusi  is throwing bullets and crushing softballs, EA is one of the best teams in the county. The Churchwomen are the reigning Inter-Ac and PAISSA champions. Senior Taylor Long is one of the top shortstops in the county. They should do plenty of damage and will be a fun team to watch.

3. Chichester

The Eagles return All-Delco pitcher Meghan Wimmer, a Brown recruit, which gives them the automatic edge in the Del Val League. But behind her is a cavalcade of talented players, including senior third baseman Maddie Thornton and sophomore catcher Nicole O’Donnell. Thornton and O’Donnell swapped positions this year. Chi has proven it can hang with good teams throughout the area. The team has reached the District One Class AAA each of the last three years.

4. Ridley

It has the makings of one of the best Ridley softball teams in a long time. Sophomore Leigh Ann Jenkins has the potential to be a  top-3 pitcher in Delco (next to Viscusi and Wimmer, in whichever order you please to rank them). Jenkins burst onto the scene as a frosh, endured the ups and downs of high school ball, but took the ball virtually everyday.

Coach Chris Bush returns his entire team sans Kelsey Collevechio, who is playing at Immaculata. Shortstop Taylor Eubanks could be primed for a big year.

5. Haverford

The Fords are coming off a 13-win season and a trip to the District One Class AAAA playoffs, but they’ll move forward without  two-time All-Delco pitcher Bridget Newman, who was one of the most feared players in the county over the last 3-4 years.

The returnees include Sammi Donato (pitcher/third base), Tyler Beccari (catcher) and Kelsey Moran (centerfield), all of whom are seniors. The Fords don’t have veteran pitching, and for years they haven’t been known as a high-scoring team, but they could make some noise in the Central League and give Springfield a run for its money.

6. Garnet Valley

They have a pretty lethal middle of the order: All-Delco junior shortstop Sam Tomasetti (Hofstra recruit), senior first baseman Ellie Oruska (Rider) and senior catcher Reva Alderman. All three can hit for power.

Ah, but pitching, what will you be? We’ll see how far the Big Three can take them.

7. Bonner-Prendergast

The Pandas always compete and win when you think they can’t (case in point, they beat Cardinal O’Hara last year when O’Hara was ranked No. 1 in the Super 7, won the Catholic League two years ago, yadda yadda) and they have a penchant for making me look stupid. It’s a young squad, but southpaw junior senior pitcher Jess Knapp is returning for her third year on varsity. They’ll be a team that emphasizes good defense, fundamentals and speed. We’ll see how it works out, but for now, we’ll throw them a bone and make them No. 1.

Under Consideration/Just Missed/Don’t Scream At Me For Leaving Your Team Out of the First Super 7 List:

Agnes Irwin … Keep an eye on Syracuse commit Michala Maciolek (catcher). She’ll be a good one.

Cardinal O’Hara … The Lions could be every bit as good as Bonner-Prendie for all I know. The loss of Molly Rafferty and Lauren DelRomano means big shoes are to be filled.

Interboro …because it’s Interboro and coach Chuck Pedrick. That’s all I can tell you.

Marple Newtown … Rylee Power is a returning All-Delco shortstop who hopes to lead the Tigers back to the District One Class AAA playoffs.

Radnor … John Schaefer, assistant the previous three years, takes over at head coach. Radnor is coming off a District One Class AAA title win, beating state champs Springfield. Weird how things work out in softball.

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