Kimi Chiapparelli, Mamaroneck: Chiapparelli spiked her batting average nearly .200 points last season, hitting close to .550 for the year, and played some of the best shortstop in the section en route to fourth-team all-state honors. The senior will stay local next season at Iona.
Brandi Coon, Valhalla: Another senior who will stay in the Hudson Valley next season (Marist), Coon was arguably the best all-around shortstop last season. After winning a section title every year she’s been with the team, Coon will have every expectation of leaving Valhalla with one more.
Sara Herskowitz, Clarkstown South: The junior enters the season already committed to a Division I program (Binghamton), and for good reason. Herskowitz is a major threat at the dish (.438 average, 19 RBI, 29 runs) and is one of the top defensive catchers in the state.
Briana Keaveney, Clarkstown South: A left-handed batter who can hit for average and power, and a right-handed hurler who posted a 1.92 ERA last year, the Cortland-bound senior will be the heart and soul of the Vikings’ lineup on both ends of the ball this season.
Diana King, Rye Neck: Entering her senior year, King has already amassed over 400 strikeouts with the Panthers and has consistently been the team’s top hitter. Expect nothing less than a sensational swan song from King before she suits up for NYU next year.
Jules Madigan, Pearl River: Madigan will anchor the Pirates’ all-senior outfield, which head coach Chris Woolgar said is one of the best in the state. Madigan’s ability to cover ground in center field should translate well on the basepaths.
Kayla McDermott, North Rockland: Coming off a breakout sophomore season, McDermott helped lead the 10th-seeded Red Raiders to the Class AA section semifinals and will be one of the top pitching prospects in the section this year.
Cassie McGrath, Tuckahoe: Despite being just a sophomore, McGrath already has played three full varsity seasons and they’re all exceptional. The Tigers’ top hitter and ace pitcher, McGrath has a career batting average of .631 and is 35-2 in the circle.
Allie Monteleone, Haldane: Monteleone, who is committed to Pace for basketball, will not have the luxury of having her former hoops teammate and speedster Sam Lisikatos hitting ahead of her this year, but should get the Blue Devils to another section title.
Angie Rizzi, Ursuline: The junior shortstop showed off her power last year, swatting six homers and driving in 28 runs in 20 games before grabbing eighth-team all-state honors.
Top 10 teams
1. John Jay-East Fishkill: Behind the arm of Ally Muller, the reigning Class AA section champion Patriots should remain the team to beat until someone knocks them off their throne.
2. Clarkstown South: The Vikings return their entire starting lineup, highlighted by Keaveney and Herskowitz, and could give head coach Maura Heebink her first elusive section title as a send-off gift in her final season after nearly two decades at the helm.
3. Valhalla: The four-time reigning Class B section champs look poised win a fifth consecutive title, with all but two players back from last year. Head coach John Hayes will have a solid senior core, which will be spearheaded by returning captains Brandi Coon and Sydni Holtz.
4. Pearl River: The Pirates will likely have to be more defense-oriented this season, with the bulk of their offensive firepower graduated. Woolgar is expecting big things from sophomore Emily Turilli, who has improved vastly in the offseason.
5. Rye Neck: After a full year of experience with each other, the chemistry between King and freshman Sam Yannuzzi should only increase and lead the Panthers to an even brighter future.
6. Mamaroneck: Coming off their first league title since 1993, the Tigers were invited to this year’s Morabito Memorial tournament in May, which fields some of the top talent in the state. Mamaroneck will have to replace graduated pitcher Jen Gottfried (8-4, 2.58 ERA), but the Tigers return everyone else.
7. Ardsley: The Panthers drop down to Class B this year, escaping a gauntlet field in Class A. With a returning battery of seniors Raina Gorman and Megan Canfield, along with senior outfielder Casey Foley and junior third baseman Nicolina Chenard, the Panthers could be a dark horse to knock off Valhalla.
8. Harrison: Senior infielder Dominique Loguidice, the Huskies’ returning leader in batting average, hits, runs and RBI, will look to fill some of the void left by three of Harrison’s top four hitters last season. Head coach Dean Marino retains the pitching combo of senior Taylor Day and junior Christina Decarlo, who each made at least six starts last season.
9. Hen Hud: Cassidy Boyle’s graduation leaves a crater-sized hole in the middle of the Sailors’ lineup and some unanswered questions in the field. Junior pitcher Gabby Caruso should keep Hen Hud in games on the defensive end, but the Sailors will need to find a way to manufacture runs.
10. Haldane: Even if the Blue Devils only lost Lisikatos to graduation, they will now need to break in a new catcher and find someone to make up for a loss of speed and scoring. Fortunately, Haldane keeps its big bat with Monteleone, as well as a wealth of experienced players.
Keep an eye on
Eastchester, North Rockland, Tappan Zee, Tuckahoe, Ursuline
Morabito Memorial tournament: May 9-10 at Mudville Softball Complex in Herkimer
Section 1 tournament: May 19-30 (finals at North Rockland H.S. on May 29-30)
NYSPHSAA championships: June 13 at Moreau State Park in Gansevoort
Twitter feeds you should follow
@Zacchio_LoHud, @LoHudSoftball, @LoHud_Debbie, @NYSPHSAA
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April 1: Softball
April 2: Baseball
Twitter: @Zacchio_LoHud, @LoHudSoftball, @LoHud_Debbie