By Joseph Staszewski
Ann Marie Rich is living a life of luxury she hasn’t been used to in recent years.
The St. Francis Prep softball coach not only has reasons to feel excited for this season, but for beyond as well. Her Terriers lost plenty of talent from last year’s squad, including ace Katie Derby. There is an influx of youth and pitching on its way.
“We lost a lot, but we feel like we’ve got good enough girls that know the game that want to be here to fill their spots,” Nicole Lomangino said.
She is one of just two seniors and will take over as the No. 1 starter in the circle. Lomangino worked on refining her pitches after missing a bulk of last season with a severely sprained ankle. Unlike last year, where Derby, now at Post University, pitched the majority of the innings, she will have plenty of help. The Terriers staff will be deep with former JV ace sophomore Theresa Armano and junior backup Jackie Russo. Sophomore Maggie Aguirre has been a pleasant surprise. She throws hard and could be used late in games.
“It’s been a while,” Rich said. “It’s been a long while since I had that.”
The biggest holes SFP has to fill are in the batting order, with Derby and Kristen McGoldrick graduated and Victoria Slavik transferring to James Madison. The top will not be a problem with junior shortstop Danielle Cervasio. The slick fielder has established herself as one of city’s top run creators with her legs and bat. She will be joined on the left side by Briana Emanuele.
“We are going to have hopefully a powerful lineup this year,” Cervasio said. “We just have to put the ball in play.”
Russo will bat second and Emanuele third. Freshman Kelly Luchi, Jessica Menna and Lomangino will provide plenty of pop. Menna, who missed the bulk of last year with a leg injury, will split time at first base and catcher Luchi. Kayla Ward is back at second base along with Eishara Campbell in left and the speedy Tara O’Rourke in center. Aguirre could see time in right and Rich expects Alexa Calcagini to also bring a consistent bat.
“We lost a lot of talent, but with the new girls coming in we also gained a lot,” Campbell said.
The new faces are something SFP feels might help when it comes time to play league opponents early on. The Terriers will go back to playing CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens teams three times with Bishop Kearney and St. Edmund dropping to the ‘A’ league. St. Francis has been the bridesmaid to defending CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens and CHSAA state champions Archbishop Molloy, which has won the last three diocesan crowns, but the girls believe they are closing in on changing that.
“I feel like every year we take another step toward them,” Lomangino said. “I feel like this year we might be taking even more of a step because they don’t know what we got.”