By Joseph Staszewski

ToniAnne Campuzano understands her job is to teach her inexperienced Mary Louis softball team the skills and the mentality it takes to win at the varsity level.

The former Hilltoppers star is in her first season at the helm after longtime Coach Ginny Peiser retired last year. TMLA is coming off a disappointing season and working with a roster missing four players, who saw significant playing time last year and with nine new players brought up from the junior varsity level.

“The girls can definitely do it,” Campuzano said. “They are talented enough. It’s just they get in their heads too much. They overthink everything. We need to get them confident enough in themselves to get the job done.”

Senior ace Nicole Hubert has credited Campuzano with making practices more upbeat and faster paced. The Hilltoppers’ six seniors have taken it upon themselves to bring the team together and show younger players what it takes to excel at the varsity level.

“The attitude on the team definitely changed this year,” Hubert said. “Last year was not a good year for us. We are really hoping to pick it up this year.”

She and classmates Angela Pfeffer should make for a strong 1-2 combination in the pitching circle. Huber has spent four seasons on the varsity squad and is one of the city’s best all-around players. She is a power hitter and pitcher. TMLA also has consistency behind the plate with the return of senior catcher Kat Barbaro.

“My pitching-catching combination is very strong,” Campuzano said.

TMLA seniors Rachel Valdez and Gabby Malave will see time at shortstop and the outfield, respectively. Meg Minihane takes over for the graduated Sam Rossi at third base and will hit leadoff. Junior varsity call-ups Monica Stefandl and Brittany Patterson will also play key roles.

“There definitely is talent here,” Hubert said. “We just have to get it going.”

Mary Louis scored early season wins over Christ the King, but has still struggled with teams in the city’s upper echelon, like St. Francis Prep and Preston.

But this Hilltoppers team believes it can compete with those squads in time with patience and hard work.

“They will get there,” Campuzano said. “We are getting there slowly.”

Related Stories
St. John’s falls in first round of Big East softball tournament
St. John’s falls in first round of Big East softball tournament
St. Francis Prep uses late rally to defeat Cardinal Spellman
St. Francis Prep uses late rally to defeat Cardinal Spellman


Skip to toolbar