As always, the areaâ€™s softball season was full of great performances. While Southington is often the program that gets the most attention, the Blue Knights were not the only team with great players this year.
New Britain, Berlin and Newington all reached the postseason as well thanks to the play of several key contributors, showing off the depth of talent in the region. As such, our All-Herald Softball Team represents the best of the best not only in the area, but in the state.
Southington was among the top contenders in Class LL, and although it fell in the title game, finished with a 22-3 record. That landed three Blue Knights on our list.
Kara Zazzaro was one of the most important pieces for Southington. The junior was the ace of the team, continuing a line of great pitchers. There wasnâ€™t much Zazzaro was not able to do in the pitching circle, and often provided the Blue Knights with clutch performances in big games. Zazzaro got better as the innings wore on, finishing with a 20-3 record with a 0.90 ERA with 212 strikeouts in 132 innings and earning all-conference.
With every good pitcher comes a good catcher and the Blue Knights had just that in Maighread Scafariello. The senior hit .471 and led the team in RBI with 37 and home runs with six. With the season ending in another All-CCC honor for Scafariello, she will be playing softball at Division I Adelphi University.
Michelle Woodruff is the final member of Southington to make our team. The sparkplug of the Blue Knights, the second baseman ended her senior campaign with an all-conference selection. Batting leadoff, Woodruff hit .378 while leading the team in plate appearances with 91 and tied for the lead with 15 stolen bases. She also impressed on defense where Woodruff earned the Defensive MVP award. She will be off to the University of St. Joseph for softball and plans to major in nursing.
The Redcoats were another team that found plenty of success, especially late, this season. After finishing the regular season 12-8, Berlin hit its groove in the Class L tournament, reaching the quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Joel Barlow. That strong performance earned the Redcoats three on this squad.
Up first is shortstop Vanessa Reimer. A mainstay for Berlin and head coach Jason Pires, the senior was once again both an All-State and All-CCC selection. Reimer hit .494 and five home runs in 94 plate appearances and drove in 29 runs. She was just as dangerous on the base paths, leading the team with 27 stolen bases. Also a track star, Reimer will be running for Boston College this fall.
Jaclyn Arute was another key piece for the Redcoats. She played a terrific center field, ending her final season with a perfect fielding percentage on the way to All-State and all-conference honors. At the plate, Arute hit an eye-popping .513 with 42 RBI, both of which led the team, along with four home runs. A four-year letter winner, the senior is also a high honor roll student earned all-academic honors. Arute will be continuing her career at Rutgers University.
Alexa Lanteri is the final Berlin player on our list. The junior infielder was an offensive force for the Redcoats, hitting .493 with five home runs and 42 RBI. She also had eight doubles and three triples.
Newington won 15 games this season and Katerina Lagace had a lot to do with it in every phase of the game. The senior was dominate in the circle, which saw her pitch to a 2.26 ERA while striking out 160 batters in 133 1/3 innings, finishing her career with a 1.90 ERA and 366 strikeouts in 330 innings. Offensively, Lagace hit .449 with 23 RBI, collecting her 100th career hit along the way. Those numbers earned her a spot on the Senior Select team as well as All-State and All-CCC selections. Lagace is an academic all-conference choice as well and will be studying physical therapy at Sage College, where she will also be playing softball.
Lagaceâ€™s teammate, Cyan Gonzalez, followed up an outstanding freshman season with an even better one as a sophomore, one that saw her already earn her first All-State and second all-conference honors. The shortstop led the team in batting average (.519), hits (41) and on-base percentage (.591). Gonzalez also drove in 20 runs, stole 15 bases and scored 38 times, proving she can hurt opponents in a variety of ways.
New Britain had some ups and downs during the season, ultimately reaching the Class LL tournament in no small part thanks to the play of two of its stars.
Jamyra Irizarry rounded out her senior season as one of the best Hurricanes in recent memory. An All-State and all-conference player, the first baseman had a knack for coming up with big hits in big games and played in the Senior Select game. This past season, Irizarry recorded her 100th career hit, 100th career RBI and 30th career triple and finished with a career batting average well above .400. An honor roll student, Irizarry will be playing softball at Curry College.
Paola Bronner was the other key piece in New Britainâ€™s success. The senior second baseman also attained her 100th career hit and finished with nearly 80 career stolen bases and 115 runs scored. An All-CCC choice, her experience and leadership will be tough to replace next year.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach