Softball

Softball Preview: St. Joseph And Trumbull Plan To Keep FCIAC Title In Town

First baseman Kaitlin Capobianco is one of St. Joseph’s top returning starters. (Matt Dewkett)

It does not take much investigating or polling to uncover a couple of favorites for the FCIAC softball season.

Even with the natural graduation losses all high school teams suffer on an annual basis, it’s hard to imagine that this season will end without two of the league’s heavyweights battling for another championship.

St. Joseph and Trumbull.

The following is indeed a cliché but it also is as close to a fact as preseason predictions can be: The road to the FCIAC championship will run through the town of Trumbull.

St. Joseph has won four of the last five FCIAC titles, added the Class M championship last season and returns four of the top players in the league. Trumbull was the FCIAC and Class LL runner-up after having won the state championship the year before. The Eagles return seven starters.

It won’t be easy, however, with perhaps as many as six other teams considered contenders. But the date to remember is April 30. Trumbull at St. Joseph. It may not be the last time the two meet.

Emily Gell gives Trumbull experience on the mound. (Matt Dewkett)

The Favorites

St. Joseph. The Cadets (13-2 in the FCIAC last year, 23-4 overall) should see plenty of postseason action this season, which is nothing new for coach Jeff Babineau’s squads in recent years. The four main returners are at key positions: ace pitcher Payton Doiron, catcher Charlee Horton (.322), sophomore shortstop Maddie Fitzgerald (.449, 31 RBIs as a freshman) and four-year starter at first base Kaitlin Capobianco (.373. 21 RBIs).

Trumbull. Ever since Jackie Sheftz arrived at Trumbull after a long, successful run at Masuk, the Eagles, who were a perfect 15-0 in the league last year before losing to St. Joseph in the final, have been a perennial contender. That isn’t likely to change this season. Pitcher Emily Gell and three veteran senior outfielders, Maggie Coffin, Alexa Adinolfi and Ava Dunn, will lead the way.

The Contenders

Fairfield Ludlowe. The Falcons won 13 of 15 FCIAC games last season and might match or better that record with five key players back. Pitcher Kylee Holderied (17-6, 1.77 ERA, 175 strikeouts) will be one of the best pitchers in the league while hitters Caitlyn Romero (five homers, 32 RBIs), Allison Clark (.400, 32 runs), Elizabeth Doolan (.410), Madaleine Reyes (.377) and Margaret Nolan (.347) form a lineup no opponent wants to face.

Stamford. The Black Knights were fourth overall in the FCIAC last year (11-4) and should be among the best offensive teams this season with Dana Serricchio (.462, 35 runs) and Amy Covino (.373, seven homers, 31 RBI) back. It doesn’t end there though, as Diana Magarian (.322), Jordan Rossi (.378) and Alissa Lauture (.400) return to support pitcher Kim Saunders.

Stamford will look to Dana Serricchio for contributions in the field and at the plate. (Gregory Vasil)

The Sleepers

Danbury, Fairfield Warde, Ridgefield, Norwalk. Danbury (9-6 last season) is dangerous with two key veterans, shortstop Gianna Iaquinto and catcher Trinadey Santiago, back in the lineup. Fairfield Warde (7-8) is never an easy out and will be led by pitcher Olivia Vadas. It might be a stretch to call Norwalk (10-4) a sleeper. No opponent will take the Bears lightly. And Ridgefield is poised to bounce back after a disappointing 7-8 league season.

25 Players To Watch

Alexa Adinolfi, Trumbull
Kenzie Bruggeman, Trumbull
Olivia Butler, Westhill
Kaitlin Capobianco, St. Joseph
Allison Clark, Fairfield Ludlowe
Maggie Coffin, Trumbull
Maddy Cortell, Westhill
Amy Covino, Stamford
Payton Doiron, St. Joseph
Elizabeth Doolan, Fairfield Ludlowe
Maddie Fitzgerald, St. Joseph
Emily Gell, Trumbull
Sabrina Grizzaffi, Ridgefield
Kylee Holderied, Fairfield Ludlowe
Charlee Horton, St. Joseph
Julia Huzi, Trumbull
Gianna Iaquinto, Danbury
Caitlyn Romero, Fairfield Ludlowe
Sophie Sancho, Fairfield Warde
Trinadey Santiago, Danbury
Kim Saunders, Stamford
Dana Serricchio, Stamford
Sophia Strazza, Wilton
Olivia Vadas, Fairfield Warde
Lila Young, Brien McMahon

The Lineups

Danbury: 1B Emily Bogues, OF Yaya Bowden, OF/DH Bella Morrell, P Elizabeth Croxford, OF Shannon Quinn, SS Gianna Iaquinto, C Trinadey Santiago.

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Darien: C Caroline Krueger, Sydney Fagerstrom, Rosali Perone, Maddy Conte, Grace Karas, Melanie Vernal, Ella Wadleighly, Kali Halverson.

Fairfield Ludlowe: P Kylee Holderied, C/1B Caitlyn Romero, 3B Elizabeth Doolan, CF Madeleine Reyes, RF Margaret Nolan, SS Allison Clark, LF Luka Holderied, C/3B Ira Boci.

Fairfield Warde: P Olivia Vardas, 1B Sophie Sancho.

Brien McMahon: SS Megan Stefanowicz, 3B/P Aliza-Perez, C Lila Young, 1B/P Aidan Bowman, OF Riley Finn, OF Leah Pasquarelli, OF Anissa Borno 1B Kayla Cocchia, 1B/3B Toni Horton, 2B Ali Mills, OF Lucy Grillo.

New Canaan: 2B/P Carolina Welch, P Faith Hibbert, 3B/P Ava Biasotti, C Emma Shullman, C/3B Kendall Somma, 1B/LF Hannah Moore, 1B/RF Christina Sinatra, 2B/SS Kaitlyn Fico, SS/CF Kara Fahey, LF/RF Lauren Mellas, CF Faith Hibbert, OF Lizi Kuchinski, OF Adriana Annese, OF Unity Lee-Weise, INF Megan Ziegler, C/OF Taylor Flowers, INF Leila Dann.

Norwalk: 2B/SS Brenda Garcia, OF/P Mia Lanzarotto, C Katelyn Greco, 3B Catherine Sheehan, 1B Erica Giglio, OF Madyson Suda, OF Jordan Hogan, OF Isabella Arvanitis, OF Briana Muro, INF/OF Emily Whelan, INF/OF Benni Tucci, INF/P Lizzie Scott.

Ridgefield: CF Lauren Bauer CF, LF Mikayla Melahn, SS Sabrina Grizzaffi, 2B Alex Kinkead, P Alyssa DeStefano, 1B Skylar Arent, 3B Makena Skrobar, C Claire Filaski, 3B/DP Julia Clavi, 1B/DP Caroline Imbrogno, OF Melissa Harris-OF, OF Natalie Sganga, INF Sarina Sheth.

St. Joseph: 3B Cami Heintz, SS Madison Fitzgerald, 2B Kyra McCarthy, 1B Kaitlin Capobianco, OF Claire Gardella, OF Paige Hunter, OF Brittany Mairano, P Payton Doiron, C Charlee Horton, DP Alyssa Noce.

Stamford: INF Dana Serrricchio, INF Alissa Lauture, INF Ally Lyons, INF Kate Hogan, INF Sarah Wargo, INF/SP Jordan Rossi, INF Kim Saunders, OF Diana Magarian, OF Brycelin Stalteri, OF Morgan Yacavone, OF Abby Hogan, P Kim Saunders, P Rebecca Schwartz, C Amy Covino.

Staples: P Madeline Howard, C/OF Samantha Levin, 1B Madeline McGarry. SS/P Sophia Alfero, C/OF Maisie Dembski, 2B Ellie Doran, CF Alley Green, 3B/OF Ayden Moskowitz, 3B/P Emily Stone, OF Jillian Backus, 3B Olivia Bernard, 2B/OF/P Miranda Rodriguez, OF/P Natasha Taubenheim, UTIL Ava Vincini, C/INF/OF Jennifer Westphal.

Trinity Catholic: INF Sarah Jablonsky, INF Sophie Muzzio, INF/P Francesca DeLeo, INF/OF/P Kyra Lynn, INF/P Julianna Fauci, INF Theresa Lupinacci, INF Leigh Harrington, OF Caitlin Scott, OF Kyah Nowlin.

Trumbull: CF Alexa Adinolfi, RF Maggie Coffin, 3B/LF Ava Dunn, P Emily Gell, SS Julia Huzi, 2B/3B/P Kenzie Bruggeman, C Cassi Barbato.

Westhill: C Maddy Cortell, SS Olivia Butler.

Wilton: OF Hannah Belanger, SS Sophia Strazza, 1B Juliana Musilli, OF/P Claire Wilson, OF/P Kate Shouvlin, 3B Maya Farrell, 2B Hannah Lifrieri.

(Teams missing or with incomplete lineups did not reply to repeated requests for information)