Season preview: Softball

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Woodland’s May Dawes (10) throws to first for an out during a game against Sacred Heart in April 2019 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. –FILE PHOTO

Naugatuck

2019 results: 12-10; lost to Lyman Hall in opening round of Class L tournament; lost to St. Paul in NVL quarterfinals

Graduated: Jordyn Hunt, Autumn Travis, Cassandra Napoli

Seniors: Alyssa Roberts, Samantha Valentine, Kayshia Diaz, Alyssa Hovey, Sara Mancuso

Season opener: April 10 vs. Wilby

The Greyhounds’ game starts with pitching.

Naugatuck has a strong battery with pitcher Alyssa Roberts, who earned All-State honors in 2018, and catcher Kendall Allen, who was named All-NVL and All-State in 2019. Kayshia Diaz gives the Greyhounds depth in the pitching circle.

The Greyhounds also boast a lineup that can put runs on the board, including juniors Samantha Mullin (.340), Nadia Cestari (.446) and Felicia Salvati (.350) along with Allen (.438) and Roberts (.428).

“I’m extremely optimistic as to the success of this team,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “There is a healthy blend of experienced varsity players returning along with a couple of sophomores and freshmen ready to battle for positions. So far they are adapting to the rules, restrictions and regulations that will be part of the season. They are excited and enthusiastic to compete no matter what restrictions COVID places on them.”

Woodland

2019 results: 14-8 record; lost to Jonathan Law in opening round of Class M tournament; lost to Seymour in NVL quarterfinals

Graduated: Giuliana Pinevich, Isabella Sierra

Seniors: May Dawes (captain), Emily Beyer (captain) Emma Krushinski, Sammantha Benanto

Season opener: April 10 at Sacred Heart

The Hawks are looking to be at the top of their game this season.

Woodland is led by four seniors, including All-NVL and All-State player May Dawes. The Hawks also return a very exciting pitching game, led by junior Riley Kane, who started her varsity career with back-to-back no-hitters as a freshman in 2019.

Junior All-NVL catcher Kylie Bulinski will be behind the plate again. Catcher/outfielder junior Rory Nolan and pitcher sophomore Samantha Sosnovich give Woodland depth in the circle and behind the plate. The Hawks also return junior sluggers Cassidy Donovan, Chelsey Donovan and Isabella Kraemer.

Coach Loren Luddy said the team has a lot of experience back, but a small roster means the team won’t be as deep as it has been in the past. After missing out on last season, she said the team is just happy to be back together.

“Losing last year was heartbreaking,” Luddy said. “We have great leadership. They come in, work hard every day and we have a real power-packed junior class with a lot of experience, but we don’t have the depth with such a small roster.”