Softball Preview: 15 players to watch

Softball Preview: 15 players to watch


Softball Preview: 15 players to watch


Erica Krumbine, St. John Vianney

Arguably the best second baseman in the conference, Krumbine will have to step up and be a leader on the field this season. But the Lancers have few worries, since the junior was an All-Shore second-teamer a year ago, finishing with a .466 batting average, 34 hits and 20 RBI.

Sam Reilly, Toms River North

Another All-Shore second-teamer last year, the Marist-bound senior brings back a lot of clout to the Mariners’ lineup and is an experienced, solid catcher who makes few mistakes. Last spring, Reilly batted .448 with 43 hits, drove in 29 runs and whacked six homers.

Emily Schaffer, Raritan

The senior lefty not only is Raritan’s No. 1 pitcher she’s also one of the most well-rounded players in the conference. Headed to Post University in Connecticut, Schaffer was an All-Shore first-teamer last year after batting .433 with a school record 38 RBI and 12 home runs. As a pitcher, she was 17-8 with a 2.18 ERA.

Casey Charterina, Brick Memorial

A relative unknown on a team that went 9-11 last spring, the senior center fielder is fantastic both in the field and at the plate. Charterina, headed for Kutztown University, last season batted .390 with seven doubles, six triples and a home run, and ended up an All-Shore second-teamer.

Annemarie Bartow, Howell

A solid shortstop and batter, Bartow will be one of the leaders for the Rebels this spring. The senior snagged a spot on our All-Shore second team last spring, after batting .471 with 41 hits, including 13 doubles and three homers, and 20 RBI.

Dani Petrone, Wall

Just watch Petrone play for a few innings, and you’ll understand why she’s been the cream of the catching crop in the Shore Conference for several years now. Already the conference’s career home runs queen with 37 dingers, the senior has a legitimate shot at the half-century mark. Last season, Petrone batted .535 and led the conference with 16 homers and 47 RBI.

Jackie Gallagher, St. John Vianney

Arguably the best shortstop in the conference, the three-sport senior makes playing softball look fairly easy most of the time. She’s calm, collected and this spring will take on a bit larger of a leadership role for the Lancers. Last season, Gallagher batted .520 and racked up 53 hits as well as 40 RBI.

Val Hirschfeld, Toms River East

A fabulous clutch hitter and excellent catcher, Hirschfeld is going to be a tremendous asset to new Toms River East coach Meghan Wood this spring. The senior is going to have to help groom a new pitcher for the varsity spotlight and try to lead the Raiders through the graduation losses of a year ago. Last spring, Hirschfeld batted .453 with 39 hits, eight doubles and 28 RBI.

Jackie Howarth, Wall

Sure, the sophomore hurler has a tremendous asset behind the plate in Dani Petrone, but Howarth is a smart pitcher who has great location on her pitches, and the experience of reaching the Group III final last season should help her a lot this spring. Last season, Howarth finished 18-4, allowed just 15 walks and notched a 1.86 ERA.

Stephanie Pepper, Central

Just ask Middletown South coach Tom Erbig how frustrating Pepper can be for an opponent. Central struggled to score runs at times last spring, but Pepper kept the Golden Eagles in a lot of games. When she’s on, the junior will make opposing teams suffer. A year ago, Pepper finished 14-7, struck out 189 and posted a 2.06 ERA.

Daniella Marino, Raritan

A player who accumulates 107 at-bats and reaches base more than half the time is an asset to any team. Fortunately for coach Aado Kommendant, Marino plays for him. The junior is a fantastic shortstop with excellent range. Last spring, Marino batted .477 with 51 hits, including 13 doubles and six homers, walked 17 times and drove in 19 runs.

Emma Neuweiler, Pinelands

Half of a very effective pitching duo last season, Neuweiler likely will get the nod for the circle in most games this spring. During the offseason, the senior signed with Texas A&M-Commerce, and this season should be given more leadership responsibility. Last year, Neuweiler went 13-4, allowing just 16 earned runs and 17 walks while posting a 0.98 ERA.

Kerry Butler, Barnegat

Another shortstop who flew under the radar last spring, Butler is both a solid fielder and an excellent hitter, and she’s going to have to rise up as a leader for the Bengals this spring. Last season, Butler struck out just once in 94 plate appearances, swatted 43 hits to bat an even .500 and drove in 17 runs.

Marissa Barnes, Freehold Township

Barnes easily is one of the best outfielders in the conference as well as a solid batter and leader. One of a bunch of talented seniors on the Patriots’ roster, Barnes won’t have to be stellar every game but she will come close. Last season, she batted .512 with 44 hits, including eight doubles and a home run, and 22 RBI.

Emilie Boman, Mater Dei

Last season was a big one for Mater Dei, and Boman was one of many talented players who helped make it all happen. Following a few big losses to graduation, Boman this spring instantly becomes one of the leaders for the Seraphs, and our guess is she will do just fine in that role along with being a rock-solid third baseman. Last spring, Boman batted .539 with 41 hits and 37 RBI.

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