Softball Senior Spotlight: Class B North
The Shore Conference Softball Coaches Association and the Shore Sports Network will recognize senior softball players who have yet to take the field in 2020 because of the lockdown forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each coach who chose to participate listed their respective seniors with comments on each. These senior recognitions will be released by division.
Class B Central - coming 4/24
Class B South - coming 4/27
Introduction by Ryan Pringle – Ocean Township Head Coach
We are in the midst of the nicest spring that I can remember. And trust me when I tell you, spring coaches are experts on weather history. But rather than watching our athletes learn, grow, and compete on the field, we are all stuck in quarantine, trying to flatten the curve. It is certainly necessary and important, and by staying home we are doing our part in slowing the spread of this virus. But I cannot help but think about what is being taken away from so many of our kids across the country.
Participating in team sports is one of the most magical and special things our students get to experience during their short window of time in high school. The memories and relationships that are built through sports can last a lifetime, and the lessons learned on the field can often translate to future success off the field. While our freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will have an opportunity to compete again next season, our seniors are in danger of never competing in their school colors again, and to me, that is a heartbreaking thought.
There are a lot of great things that come with being a high school coach, but one of my favorites is watching seniors lay it all on the line during their final season. I have been very lucky to coach some incredible kids during my tenure, and this year, I was looking forward to watching a few more seniors lace them up one last time. With these senior athletes in mind, I reached out to our Shore Conference Softball Coaches’ Association, and below is a list of some of our seniors that we are thinking about during this suspension of play. Here is what our coaches have to say about their seniors:
CLASS B NORTH
Colts Neck - Head coach: Christina Ashe – 2nd Season
- Erica Cunningham, C - A team leader who has been a huge asset for the team both on offense and defense. She has accomplished great things on the field and in the ROTC program during her four years at CNHS.
- Gia Zack, OF - A hardworking athlete who is always looking to improve each day she steps onto the field. She is the team "jokester" and always knows how to lighten the mood.
- Kate Alijian, C - The definition of a team player. Even though she is recovering from knee surgery, she still makes efforts to do what she can to help her teammates during practice.
Middletown North - Head coach: Chris Hoffman – 4th Season
- Mia Botti, SS – Mia is a 3-year varsity starter who has played nearly every position in the field at some point in her career. After an injury to the team's starting catcher before the 2019 group finals, she unselfishly volunteered to catch despite little experience at the position en route to the school's first-ever state championship.
- Lindsey Pozai, 1B – After missing her freshman year to injury, Lindsey came back to have a nice career as a 3-year varsity player. Lindsey brings a much-needed powerful bat to a lineup that features mostly contact hitters.
- Lily Richichi, CF - Lily is a 2-year starter who had a huge 2-RBI double that helped her team win their second sectional title in a row. She also plays the lead in the school play and does a great job balancing commitment to both school clubs.
- Alyssa Sigler, LF – Alyssa is a 2-year starter who has incredible speed, arm strength and defensive ability. Despite her defense being her greatest strength, she was also challenging for the school's all-time triples record.
- Ryleigh Noonan, Utility – As the only three-sport athlete on the softball team, Ryleigh brings athleticism that helps her play any position on the field. Dubbed the best bunter in the Shore Conference by her coaches, Ryleigh will do all the little things to help her team win.
Neptune - Head coach Kevin Juska – 4th Season
- Autumn O'Neil, P/INF - Autumn has led our team in every hitting category for the last three years. This year she was focusing on being a dominant pitcher to help us compete in B-North.
- Kayla Newman, OF - Returning starter in the outfield that was ready for a big season.
- Naomi Ruiz, IF - Was ready to contribute in the iinfield and on the bases.
Ocean Township - Head coach Ryan Pringle – 7th Season
- Alex Ardizzone *Captain*, SS – “Ardi” is a four-year varsity starter for our program. As a freshman, she started on a team that played in the Shore Conference Championship, and despite losing most of her sophomore year to a broken collarbone, she has been one of the most productive and hardest working players we have had. She is a quiet leader and she sets an example that we hope all our younger players will follow.
- Paula Arroyave *Captain*, OF – Paula has been part of our program for four years and has been an outfield starter for the last two. She is our vocal leader, perfectly blending seriousness with just the right touch of silliness; she is also an excellent all-around player. She exemplifies what it means to be a Spartan.
- Julia DeGirolamo *Captain*, Pitcher/1B/OF – “JD” is a four-year varsity letter winner for our program. She is a tenacious competitor, a great leader, and an incredibly hard worker. As a junior, she was our ace in the circle and gave us several dominant outings to help us win games. This year she was poised for another huge season at Ocean before heading to Muhlenberg to continue her softball career next fall.
- Mia Johnson, 1B – Mia has been part of our program for four years; this is her first full season on varsity. She is a strong hitter and smart fielder, and she is a fantastic student off the field.
- Julia Sayco, IF – Julia has been part of our program for four years; this is her first full season on varsity. She is a well-rounded player and plays every day with a huge smile, which always brightens our team. She is also an excellent student leader in the classroom.
- Aryelis Rodriguez, OF – Aryelis has been part of our program for four years; this is her first full season on varsity. She is an athletic outfielder and a dedicated Spartan leader. Off the field, she is a great student and a fantastic singer.
Red Bank Regional - Head coach Mike Pembleton – 1st Season
- Maggie Watson is a 4-year varsity player. She has demonstrated over the years that her strong presence and composure on the mound exemplifies her leadership on and off the field. Maggie has proven to be a tough competitor.
- Abby Wagner is a 4-year varsity player. Her hot glove at third base delivers key defensive plays at the right time. This slugger’s big bat also can provide timely offense for the team.
- Katie Jensen is a 4-year varsity player. Her athleticism and versatility allow her to play both the infield and the outfield. Katie’s speed and intelligence on the bases helps put runs on the board for her team.
- Nicholette Daniele is a 2-year varsity player. She is a scrappy second baseman who has developed into a key defensive player. Nicholette’s grit and determination are also apparent at the plate.
- Madison Young is a first-year varsity player. Her ability to control the game behind the plate or be a steady glove at first base makes her an asset to the team.
Saint John Vianney - Head coach Kim Lombardi – 16th Season
- Julia Parker is a power pitcher! All-state player, state champion pitcher in 2018, Shore Conference pitcher in 2019. Very powerful hitter as well! Very well-rounded athlete. A 4-year starter who batted in the third or fourth spot since her freshman year. Played first base when not pitching her freshmen season.
- Gillian Zack has been playing left and center field since freshman year! She can track down balls in the outfield easily. A very good leader in the outfield and a 4-year starter.
- Jordyn Shultz - Left fielder and designated hitter roles for the Lancers her sophomore and junior year! She had some big, timely hits to put us ahead in games. Very coachable and a hard worker.
- Caylei Hoffman would have been in her first year starting as our catcher. Very good athlete. Knows the game well, very coachable and a great young lady!
I believe I speak for all spring coaches of all spring sports when I say that I hope we get back on the field soon. I love coaching and I love all the things that come with it. The players, the coaches, the umpires and the competitive spirit of the game all combine to create a truly special experience. I miss seeing my players and the opposing coaches and umpires that have become my spring family. Earlier this year, we lost one of the great umpires in our sport, Jimmy Griffin. He was one of the best guys I have met since I started coaching softball and I would be remiss if I did not mention him here. We all miss you, Jimmy. The game will not be the same without you. Rest in peace my friend - Ryan Pringle, Ocean Township head coach.