Morrell at the helm
Popular coach named to lead softball team
By MIKE MADERA
(February 24, 2015) - As expected, Joe Morrell was officially named the next West Haven girls softball coach Tuesday evening at the Board of Education meeting, taking over for the retired Frank Biondi, who stepped aside after 33 years and 431 wins following last season.
Morrell has spent the last 17 years as coach of the West Haven varsity hockey team, where his teams have averaged 12 wins a year entering Wednesday’s contest against North Haven. The lifetime Westie has coached 20 All-State players, and his hockey teams will have made 16 state tournament appearances with four semifinal berths and one SCC title once the postseason begins.
Hamden coach Bill Verneris (l.) and Joe Morrell (r.). Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I am excited to do it,” Morrell said. “It is something I enjoy doing. I have coached ten years in the summer. I enjoy coaching my daughter (Jolie). I never had the opportunity to coach her on the high school level and for one year, I do.
“Coaching is coaching. You have to get the kids’ respect and you have to get them to work hard. We will do the fundamentals right. We will practice hard and we will do the little things. If we work hard all the time, good things will happen.”
The West Haven physical education teacher received the 2005 Connecticut Outstanding Coach Award. He was named the Connecticut Post Coach of the Year in 2010 and the SCC Coach of the Year in 2014.
A 1983 graduate of West Haven High, Morrell was a three-sport star in baseball, hockey and soccer under Hall of Fame coaches George Hanchette, Art Crouse and Elliot Marnell.
Morrell, who was inducted into the West Haven Hall of Fame this past November, coached youth sports from 1984 to 1997, winning a Division I state championship in hockey, along with four New England appearances.
Coaching youth soccer in West Haven for 14 years, Morrell’s teams won eight league titles and one state title. Morrell was named the top soccer coordinator for 10 years and has been the commissioner of the West Haven Invitational soccer tournament for six years.
Joe Morrell (second from right). Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Morrell coached in Shore Haven baseball and served as the softball commissioner. He also coached the Shoreline Sting of the AAU for several years.
“The kids will get a lot of grounders,” Morrell said. “We will work on tagging up and where to throw the ball. When we get it, we will move on. But, until we get it, we will not move on and will work on it until we get it. It will be back to basics like all the good teams do. We will do the little things well.”
Morrell has also coached the girls soccer team at West Haven for six years, winning one Southern Connecticut Conference title and making five state tournament appearances.
Under head coach and fellow West Haven Hall of Famer Mike Violano at Notre Dame, the teams won two state titles and reached three state finals.
“West Haven is a great place to coach,” Morrell said. “Every kid in the school is blue collar. They know what it takes to get the job done. I love when it is time to go to work, they go to work. When it is time to step up, the kids and the community step up. You see that with benefits. You do not see that in every town.”
Joe Trapani will come on as one assistant coach and Jocey Morrell will work with her father as a volunteer coach.
“I am looking forward to working with her,” Morrell said of his daughter Jocey. “I have watched her play for a lot of years, whether at the youth level, in high school or college. She knows what I expect. She knows the routine. She can help the girls as well by telling them what it takes to play in college. She was also really good at understanding the count. She was a good two-strike hitter. Hopefully, she can help the kids with that, as well as being a fearless infielder.”
Joe Morrell talks with his team. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Biondi had the softball field named in his honor and was a 2004 West Haven Hall of Fame inductee. His teams appeared in the state semifinals in 1993 and 1998 and had regular season with records 20-0 and 18-2 records.
Biondi’s teams won either the District League or Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division titles 17 times and finished second seven times. In his 33 years, Biondi’s teams qualified for the postseason 28 times and he coached 14 All-State players and an All-American in Tammy Hackley.
Biondi calls it a career
Legendary coach announces retirement
By MIKE MADERA
(December 12, 2014) - When the West Haven softball team walked off the field for the final time last season following an opening-round state tournament loss at Greenwich, it marked the end of the brilliant career for star shortstop Sierra Santana. While that loss was known with the last game of the season, what was not known at the time was the contest would also be the last in the legendary career of Hall of Fame coach Frank Biondi.
After 33 years on the high school sideline and 431 wins, the 72-year-old coach has decided to end his storied career. Citing the time it takes to move back to West Haven from his Hill, New Hampshire home for three months the last 13 seasons, Biondi finally decided to retire.
Frank Biondi with former pitching star Camdyn Morgillo. File photo courtesy Todd Dandelske.
"The (West Haven) kids here have been great," Biondi said. "Everyone has been great. I have moved twice a year for the last 13 years for three months. We have to pack up everything. It is not just a suitcase. It just got harder and harder though."
Biondi, who saw the softball field named in his honor in 2001 and was a 2004 West Haven Hall of Fame inductee, leaves the Westies having appeared in the state semifinals in 1993 and 1998 and having regular seasons with 20-0 and 18-2 records. Under Biondi's leadership, the Westies won either the District League or Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division title 17 times and finished second seven times. In his 33 years, Biondi's teams qualified for the postseason 28 times.
Frank Biondi (r.) shares a laugh between pitches. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"It was the kids," Biondi said. "It was the type of kids we had. They always gave everything they had. I can think of 40 kids in the pre-1993 era that can be in the Hall of Fame. And you have the Taylor Nortons and Jocey Morrells and the (Cindy and Sam) Johnson sisters. Those kids are special kids. You have Vicci (Duane) and Breanna (Wajnowski) and Liz Vaccino and Laurie DelGrego. I can keep going. There are a whole bunch of players you can't help but like.
"The kids are great in different ways. I am most proud a lot of the players have become lifelong friends. In fact, some even come and visit us up here. I'm going to miss it, but it is time."
Biondi, who won the Umpire's Award for Sportsmanship in 1991 and was never ejected from a game, has contemplated retiring the last few years, but always decided to give it another year. While those same thoughts got a hold of Biondi again this year, the long-time coach knew it was time.
"Every year I say I want to see so and so graduate," Biondi said. "The fact is there will always be a so and so. I feel I can still do it, but it is time."
Frank Biondi (l.) congratulates Sierra Santana in a 2014 contest. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
As Biondi heads into retirement, he has plenty of memories. None are greater than the others, but all will be remembered fondly by the retiring coach.
"There was the undefeated team in 1993 and the way we lost in an unbelievable game in the state tournament," Biondi said. "Southington was the number one team in the state and we had already beaten them. We knocked them off during the season. I always played the toughest teams I could get. They loved to play us.
"There was the year A.J. Paolillo was a freshman and we knocked Southington out in the first round. It was the earliest they were ever knocked out in the early 1990's. There were some very good players. Lisa Defaranos won 49 games in three years. Vicci's (Duane) year was a great year and Laurie DelGrego was probably one of the best players I have ever seen. Tammy Hackley was an All-American in 1993. There were just great kids."
Biondi, who was named the Coach of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association for 2010-2011, coached 14 All-State players and an All-American in Hackley during his 33-year run.
Biondi's teams have had postseason recognition for the players 175 times, either with All-Area, All-State or other selections following the seasons.
Assistant coach Cliff Casner is also expected to retire from the softball field as well.
Westies fall To Greenwich
Season ends with 5-1 loss
By MIKE MADERA
(June 2, 2014) - The West Haven softball team started quickly in its CIAC Class LL first round game against Greenwich. Scoring once in the first inning, the Westies were looking to upset the third-seeded Cardinals.
Unfortunately for West Haven, the game did not end the way it started. A two-run homer in the bottom of the inning by Rebecca DeCarlo helped propel Greenwich to a 5-1 victory over the Westies in Greenwich Monday afternoon. With the loss, West Haven ends the season with an 8-13 record.
With the loss to Greenwich, the splendid career of talented senior shortstop Sierra Santana comes to a close. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I am extremely disappointed," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "We did not have any spark. The first four batters of the game hit the ball hard. After that, we did not hit anything hard except for Kial (Watts)."
The Westies got off to a nice start against the third-seeded Cardinals and pitcher Jessie Schelz as leadoff hitter Sierra Santana singled, moved to third on a double by Kial Watts and scored on an infield single to short by Amber Bonewicz.
With runners on first and second and no one out, the Westies were poised for a big inning. That all ended in an instant as Madison Watts' liner to short was turned into a double play and Jolie Morrell popped out to end the frame.
DeCarlo gave Greenwich a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning and West Haven was forced to play from behind. Schelz made quick work of the Westies over the next two innings, allowing only a two-out single to Kial Watts in the third.
Madison Watts led off the fourth with a single, moved to second on Morrell's grounder to third and third on Kristen Domek's grounder to Schelz. Schelz escaped without any damage as she got Alissa Tonucci to pop to short for the final out.
Greenwich put the game away in the bottom half of the fourth, scoring three more runs on just one hit. West Haven helped the Cardinals with four errors in the inning.
"I thought we would play better than that," Biondi said. "The last five or six games we played well. I thought we were moving in the right direction."
West Haven had two final opportunities to extend the season, but could not come up with the big hit. Kial Watts led off the sixth with a single, but was left stranded and West Haven had a pair on in the seventh.
Crista Brennan hit a one-out, pinch-hit single and Marisa Pacapelli followed with a single to put two on with one out. After pinch-hitter Julia Bothwell hit a fly ball to right, the Westies had the top of the order coming up.
With Kial Watts, who already had three hits in the game, on deck, Santana could not extend the game or the season as she grounded to second for the final out.
Westies drop pair to Amity
West Haven falls on Senior Night
By MIKE MADERA
(May 24, 2014) - The postseason may not begin until next week, but don't tell that to both the Amity and West Haven softball teams. Playing in front of a big crowd at Biondi Field as part of West Haven's Senior Night, the Spartans won the second game of the doubleheader, 2-1, to complete a sweep of the Westies Saturday evening.
The win, coupled with Amity's 11-5 victory in the opener, allowed the Spartans to finish the regular season with four straight wins, eight victories in their last nine contests, and a 16-4 record.
Sierra Santana applies the tag against Amity, May 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
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In the opener of the doubleheader, Amity, which was the home team, took a 3-0 lead in the third before West Haven rallied for two in the fourth.
Sierra Santana (l.) flips to Marisa Pacapelli (r.) at second for the out against Amity, May 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Kial Watts was hit by a pitch, Amber Bonewicz singled to center and Madison Watts singled to score Kial Watts. Jolie Morrell's sacrifice fly plated Bonewicz to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Amber Bonewicz gets a hit against Amity, May 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
While that fourth inning rally had the Westies back in the game, that emotional lift quickly went away when Amity scored five times in the bottom of the inning to take an 8-2 lead.
West Haven added two runs in the fifth when Marisa Pacapelli led off with a single, and Sierra Santana and Kial Watts followed with one-out singles to score Pacapelli. Bonewicz doubled to score Santana, but West Haven left two runners in scoring position.
Kial Watts slides home safely in the opener of a doubleheader against Amity, May 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Morrell drove in Kial Watts, who had singled, in the seventh, with a double.
Postseason Here We Come
West Haven defeats Lyman Hall to qualify for postseason
By MIKE MADERA
(May 21, 2014) - It may have taken a little longer that the team would have liked, but the West Haven softball team qualified for the postseason Wednesday evening with a 4-2 victory over Lyman Hall at Biondi Field. The win allowed the Westies to improve to 8-10 with two games remaining.
"We wanted to get in as fast as we could," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "We are down to our eighteenth game. I am very happy. We had a stretch in the middle of the year where we did not play well at all. But, we are playing together and we have made some great plays."
Sierra Santana sets to get the final out of the game (top) and the Westies celebrate their postseason berth (below) against Lyman Hall, May 21, 2014. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Trailing 1-0 in the fourth inning, West Haven scored all the runs it would need to take a 4-1 lead.
Madison Watts, who singled twice and walked, led off with a single. Jolie Morrell advanced Watts with a grounder to third and Kristen Domek popped out for the second out.
Madison Watts scores against Lyman Hall, May 21, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Alissa Tonucci came up big with a single and a Lyman Hall error scored the first run. Marisa Pacapelli singled to score Tonucci with the go-ahead run and pinch-hitter Crista Brennan singled to drive in another run for a 3-2 lead.
West Haven, which capitalized on two Lyman Hall errors in the inning, was not finished. Sierra Santana tripled to score Alexis Severino for a 4-1 lead.
Alexis Severino rounds second and scores against Lyman Hall, May 21, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I am so excited," Santana said after qualifying. "We got clutch hits when we needed them. We definitely have played with more urgency."
West Haven's big inning was a relief for the team as the Westies squandered scoring opportunities in the first and third innings.
In the first inning, Kial Watts singled with one out and Madison Watts followed with a two-out single. Neither scored as Jolie Morrell's hard grounder was turned into a fielder's choice to end the frame.
"We definitely proved a lot of people wrong," Kial Watts said. "We pulled together as a team. We fixed what was necessary to win.This is important for all of us."
Jolie Morrell makes the play against Lyman Hall, May 21, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
In the third inning, Santana was at it again, but could not score. The Westie senior singled to center and with two outs, stole her 20th base of the year, and moved to third on a passed ball. Santana did not score as Amber Bonewicz struck out to end the frame.
Kial Watts tossed a complete game, allowing just six hits, striking out five and walking one in the clincher.
Santana finished with a pair of hits and a run batted in, while Pacapelli had a hit, a run scored and a run batted in.
One Step Closer
West Haven defeats Branford in extra innings to improve to 7-10
By MIKE MADERA
(May 19, 2014) - With the season ticking away, the West Haven softball team was well aware of the importance of Monday night's contest against Branford.
Kial Watts and Sierra Santana made sure the rest of the season was meaningful. Riding the hitting of Santana and Watts in the eighth inning and the pitching of Watts, West Haven defeated the Hornets 1-0 at Biondi Field to improve to 7-10.
The Westies need to win one of their final three games to qualify for postseason play.
"We played a great game," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "We played with a lot of heart. I was proud of the way we played."
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the eighth, Santana led off with a triple to the gap in right center. After battling Branford pitcher Megan Ferraro, Watts laced a single to center to score Santana with the game-winner.
"This is a really big win for us," Watts said. "It was a big spot to be in. I knew she would pitch me outside. I just wanted to go with it."
Santana, who finished with two hits in the game, had the big at bat as her triple set up the game-winner.
"This was huge for us," Santana said. "This is a big, big win. I thought they would pitch me outside, so I just crowded the plate.
"I think we have been playing a lot better. We have been minimizing our errors. I am so proud of how we played on defense."
The game went to extra innings because neither team capitalized on its opportunities early on.
The Westies left a pair of runners on in the first inning, let a triple by Marisa Pacapelli go by the boards in the second inning and could not bring Santana home from third in the third inning.
Alexis Severino singled with two outs in the seventh inning, but was caught stealing to end the frame.
Watts was impressive in the first few innings in the pitching circle for West Haven. but ran into trouble in the fifth. After loading the bases with no one out, Watts recorded a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to end the threat.
Watts ran into trouble with two outs in the seventh as Cynthia Lerman tripled, but the West Haven pitcher got Nicole Carrano on a grounder to Madison Watts at third for the final out.
"You feel the pressure, but you have to stay relaxed," Kial Watts said.
Kial Watts went the distance, allowing eight hits, walking three and striking out five. The Westie pitcher also had three hits in the win.
Westies clean House
West Haven inches closer to postseason with 14-2 win over Academics
By MIKE MADERA
(May 15, 2014) - The West Haven softball team is well aware time is its biggest enemy right now. With a handful of games to play and needing three wins to play in the postseason, the Westies know every play can make a difference in playing in the postseason or starting summer ball early.
Coach Frank Biondi's team took a step in the right direction Thursday afternoon, rolling to a 14-2 win over Hillhouse at Biondi Field. The win improves West Haven's record to 6-10, putting the team a pair of wins away from playing in the postseason with four to go.
"We need two more," Biondi said. "We have some tough games remaining, but we have to get two if we want to get in."
Alexis Severino prepares to make a play against Hillhouse, May 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Seniors Sierra Santana and Amber Bonewicz did all they could Thursday afternoon to make sure their final season ends with a postseason bid.
Santana had two hits, walked three times, scored four runs and stole five bases. Bonewicz had two hits, including a long home run, walked and stole a base.
"She (Santana) has been great," Biondi said. "The kid can play. Amber hit a long home run. They were big for us today."
Amber Bonewicz hit a home run in the third inning to put West Haven ahead for good in a 14-2 win over Hillhouse, May 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies did not get off to a good start as three errors in the opening inning led to a pair of Hillhouse runs off West Haven starter Sara Duprey.
The Westies got that run back in the bottom of the inning when Santana walked and stole three bases to cut the deficit in half. West Haven then took the lead in the third.
Santana again started the rally as she led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kial Watts. Bonewicz followed with her homer to give West Haven a 3-2 lead.
"We settled down after that first inning," Biondi said.
The Westies never looked back, scoring three more runs in the inning. Kristen Domek reached on an error, Alissa Tonucci singled, Jolie Morrell walked and Marisa Pacapelli reached on an error to give West Haven a 6-2 lead.
Alissa Tonucci singles against Hillhouse, May 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies put the game away with six runs in the fourth inning. Santana again started the rally with a single and stole a pair of bases before scoring.
Kial Watts and Bonewicz walked, Madison Watts singled and Domek followed with a single to drive in one run. Tonucci and Morrell followed with run-scoring singles, before Pacapelli's double scored two more.
Jolie Morrell doubles against Hillhouse, May 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Kial Watts doubled to score Santana in the fifth.
Duprey picked up the win as she went the distance, allowing two runs on six hits, striking out eight and walking three.
Sierra Santana applies the tag against Hillhouse, May 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Pacers defeat Westies
SHA scores early in 7-3 win
By MIKE MADERA
(May 13, 2014) - The West Haven softball team had its share of opportunities against Sacred Heart Academy Tuesday afternoon.Like most of the season, the Westies failed to capitalize.
Unable to come up with the big hit, West Haven fell to the Pacers 7-3 in Hamden. The loss dropped the Westies to 5-10 and put the team in a must-win situation for three of its last five games.
"We have an uphill battle," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "The Hamden game is the key game. We had to have that one."
West Haven opened the game with a one-out double by Kial Watts in the first inning, followed by a single to Amber Bonewicz and a walk to Madison Watts to load the bases.
Sacred Heart pitcher Molly Flowers escaped without any damage as she struck out Kristen Domek and Alissa Tonucci to end the frame.
Trailing 7-0 in the third inning, West Haven finally got on the board, but again also squandered an opportunity.
Kial Watts tripled with one out, Bonewicz walked and Watts scored on a passed ball. Flowers again escaped without further damage as Madison Watts and Domek struck out to end the inning.
In the fifth inning, Kial Watts reached on an error and Bonewiczis walked, but Madison Watts' hard hit grounder to third was turned into the final out.
The Westies scored twice in the seventh to make the final 7-3. Alexis Severino started the rally with a bunt single, moved to second on a bunt by Sierra Santana and came around to score when Kial Watts reached on an error. Bonewicz singled to put runners on the corners and a passed ball brought another run home.
The Pacers took a 3-0 lead in the first with Amanda Beecher driving in one run with a single and Flowers helping herself with a run-scoring double. Sacred Heart put the game away with four in the second.
Kial Watts doubled and tripled in the loss.
Hamden tops Westies
West Haven's playoff hopes take big blow in 4-1 loss to Green Dragons
By MIKE MADERA
(May 12, 2014) - If the West Haven softball team is to play in the postseason, it will have to get going quickly. Picking up only six hits Monday afternoon, West Haven fell to Hamden 4-1 at Biondi Field.
The loss dropped the Westies to 5-9 on the season, leaving them three games short of a postseason bid with six games to play. West Haven defeated Hamden 11-3 earlier in the year, but Monday afternoon was much different.
"I am more than disappointed," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "This was a game we had to win. We did not play like we had to win."
After Hamden took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, West Haven had a golden opportunity to get on the board in the bottom of the inning. Sierra Santana, who has been red hot, singled and stole second and third with no outs.
Santana never moved as Marisa Pacapelli struck out, Kial Watts lined out and Amber Bonewicz popped out to end the inning.
The squandered opportunity was one of may for the Westies on the day. Madison Watts singled with one out in the second, but did not move.
In the fourth, Kial Watts singled and scored on a triple by Bonewicz. With Bonewicz on third and no one out, West Haven failed to score as Jolie Morrell popped out, Madison Watts grounded out and Kristen Domek grounded out to end the inning.
Alissa Tonucci singled and Sierra doubled with one out in the fifth with West Haven trailing 4-1, but Pacapelli grounded out and Kial Watts popped out to end the threat.
West Haven's final threat came in the seventh as Domek reached on an error, but Tonucci, Crista Brennan and Santana were retired to end the game.
"I have had teams that did not have talent like this team, but fought and found a way to win," Biondi said. "We have to do that."
Kial Watts took the loss, allowing six hits, striking out five and walking four. Santana had two hits for the Westies.
Westies dealt bad Hand
WH falls 8-4 to Tigers
By MIKE MADERA
(May 9, 2014) - Through five innings on Friday, it looked as if the West Haven softball team was going to take one step closer to the postseason. It was the sixth inning which helped prove otherwise.
Scoring five times in the sixth inning, Hand-Madison defeated the Westies 8-4 at Frank Biondi Field. The loss dropped West Haven to 5-8 and forced the team to have to win three of its final seven games to qualify for the postseason.
"It is disappointing," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "We had them. We were hitting rockets all day, but they were right at people."
Leading 4-2, West Haven could not get out of the sixth inning with the lead. Madeleine Yaggie had the big hit, a bases-clearing double to give Hand a 5-4 lead. A West Haven error allowed two more runs to score, giving Hand a 7-4 lead.
"We had the game," Biondi said. "We just did not play well in that inning."
West Haven jumped on the Tigers quickly, scoring once in the first inning and three more times in the second for a 4-1 lead.
In the first, Marisa Pacapelli walked with one out and Kial Watts doubled to score Pacapelli. Watts advanced to third on a single by Amber Bonewicz, but West Haven failed to score as Jolie Morrell grounded out and Madison Watts hit a fly ball to end the inning.
Kial Watts had three hits and drove in three runs against Hand, May 9, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After Hand tied the game on Lily Geshwind's homer in the second, West Haven took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the inning.
Alissa Tonucci singled with one out scored on Sierra Santana's two-out double. Pacapelli reached on an error to put runners on the corners before Kial Watts doubled to plate Santana and Pacapelli for a 4-1 lead.
The Westies would not score again. Kyle Watts singled, but was left stranded in the fifth, Morrell singled but West Haven did not capitalize in the sixth, and Santana singled and Kial Watts walked in the seventh, but neither came around to score.
"We have to win three more games," Biondi said.
Kial Watts led West Haven with three hits and three runs batted in. Santana added two hits and drove in a run in the loss.
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
Sierra Santana makes the play against Hand, May 9, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
All-State Players - Stacey Dixon '93; Tammy Hackley '93; Kim DeMayo '94; Angelina Sousa '94; Shannon Curren '95; Laurie DelGrego '98; Liz Vaccino '98; Lindsay Connor '03; Vicci Duane '04; Krystle Denny '04; Shannon Connor '09, '10; Elaina Maio '10; Joanna Fekieta '11; Camdyn Morgillo '13
Retired Numbers - Tammy Hackley (Class of 1993) #13
Amber Bonewicz had one hit against Hand, May 9, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
For all of your heating oil needs, contact Oyster River Petroleum or visit here
Congratulations to Sierra Santana, Kial Watts and Amber Bonewicz on being named to the Southern Connecticut Conference All-Quinnipiac Division team.
Mercy rips 5 HR's in 8-2 win over WH
By MIKE MADERA
(May 7, 2014) - If the Mercy softball team was laboring from a tight contest against Shelton 24 hours earlier, it needed just five pitches to set the tone against West Haven.
Astin Donovan's laser over the fence in right led off the contest and was one of five home runs by the Tigers, giving Mercy a lead it never relinquished in an 8-2 victory over the Westies at Frank Biondi Field Wednesday evening. Donovan hit a pair of homers, while Stephanie Mangiameli, Stephanie Dean and Olivia Fiasconaro each hit one in the victory.
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Westies run past Gaels
Kial Watts and Sierra Santana lead the way in 2-0 victory
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (May 5, 2014) - Having lost three straight contests and in danger of facing Mercy on Wednesday in the midst of a losing streak, the West Haven softball team was determined to halt the skid.
Kial Watts, Madison Watts and Sierra Santana took matters into their own hands to make sure the Westies came away with a victory Monday evening at Frank Biondi Field.
Behind the four-hit pitching of Kial Watts, the stellar defense of Madison Watts and the running and defense of Sierra Santana, West Haven improved to 5-6 with a 2-0 victory over Shelton.
"This game was huge for us," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "We were in danger of being 4-7 with Mercy coming in. We did what we had to do."
Kial Watts returned o the pitching circle for the first time since the opening week of the season. All Watts did was shut down the Gaels on four hits, while striking out three and not walking a batter.
"Kial was terrific out there," Biondi said. "She kept the ball where she needed it to be. They only hit two hard balls off her."
While Kial Watts was doing her thing in the circle, Madison Watts and Santana anchored the left side of the infield with several solid plays. Madison Watts was at her best in the fourth inning when she made all three plays, one better than the next.
"We played well on defense," Biondi said. "Madison did a great job at third and I love Sierra at short."
Santana played well at short in her switch back from the outfield and was also quick on the bases to steal a run in the third inning.
"This game was really important for us," Santana said. "It was our first night game and our night games are important to us.
"We wanted to break our losing streak. We played so much better tonight. We were tighter on defense. I am really proud of everyone."
West Haven scored the only runs of the game with a a pair in the third inning. Kristen Domek opened the inning with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, stole third and scored on Santana's infield single. Santana stole second and third, on her way home for a 2-0 lead.
Kial Watts did the rest as she held Shelton off the scoreboard, despite the Gaels rallying in the seventh inning.
"This was a big win for us," Kial Watts said. "It was a must-win game. We talked about it. We had a different attitude today."
Three singles by the Gaels loaded the bases with one out in the final inning, before Kial Watts escaped by getting Lily Rivera on strikes and the final out on a grounder to third.
Kaysee Talcik allowed just one hit, struck out four and walked just one in the hard-luck loss for the Gaels.
Kial Watts and the Westies fell to Sacred Heart Academy, May 3, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Pacers pound Westies
WH drops 13-2 decision to SHA
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (May 3, 2014) - To say Molly Flowers is an important part of the Sacred Heart Academy softball team would be an understatement. Just ask the rest of the Southern Connecticut Conference.
Since Flowers returned from a wrist injury two weeks ago, the Pacers have become a different team. Saturday afternoon at West Haven was no exception.
Pounding out 18 hits and riding the 3-hit pitching of Flowers, the Pacers easily defeated West Haven 13-2 at Frank Biondi Field. With Sacred Heart's fourth win in six games, the Pacers moved to 5-6, three games away from the postseason.
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Amber Bonewicz is late with the tag as Sacred Heart Academy scores against West Haven, May 3, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Sierra Santana steals second against Sacred Heart Academy, May 3, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Shut Down and Shut Out
Westies fall to Sheehan 10-0
By MIKE MADERA
(May 2, 2014)- Having not played in a week, the West Haven softball team had to be itching to get on the field. The Westies probably wished they had another day.
Behind a 14-hit attack, Sheehan pounded West Haven 10-0 in Wallingford Friday afternoon. The loss was West Haven's second straight and dropped the team to 4-5 on the year.
"I am very disappointed," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "We looked like we were doing a good job and then we got beat by Mercy . We did not play well against Branford and we played worse today."
The Westies had only two hits in the game, both coming in the last inning. Sheehan's Missy Periera improved to 9-1 as she was on her game from the start.
Kial Watts walked in the first , but was left stranded and Marisa Pacapelli led off the fourth with a walk, but West Haven again could not capitalize.
After Periera retired nine in a row, Kial Watts led off the seventh with West Haven's first hit, before Jolie Morrell hit into a fielder's choice. Madison Watts singled to left, but Periera got Amber Bonewicz on a fly ball to left and Kristen Domek on a grounder to third to end the game.
"We are not playing well," Biondi said. "We are playing horrid. Everyone is making errors. We are not on our toes. We are not doing anything."
Hunter Selvaggi led Sheehan with four hits, Sara Pisanelli had three and Meghan Gavin added two hits, three runs scored and four runs batted in.
Sara Duprey allowed 14 hits, struck out two and walked one in the loss.
Branford stings Westies
WH drops 9-5 decision to Hornets
By MIKE MADERA
(April 25, 2014)- With three games remaining on a season-long nine-game road trip, the West Haven softball team was looking to continue its solid play. Unfortunately for the Westies, the first two innings were none too kind.
Scoring six runs in the first and two more in the second, Branford rallied to defeat the Westies 9-5 at Branford High. With the loss, West Haven fell to 4-4 on the year.
"We had our chances, but they did not make any mistakes," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "They made all the plays. We hit the ball well, but we did not hit in the clutch."
West Haven started the game on the right foot with three runs in the first inning. With one out, Marisa Pacapelli was hit by a pitch, Kial Watts singled and Madison Watts laced a three-run homer.
That would be West Haven's last lead of the game. Branford used six hits, including four singles, a triple and a home run off West Haven pitcher Sara Duprey to score six times for a 6-3 lead.
After the Westies went down in order in the second, three more hits, including a double, by the Hornets in the second put West Haven in an 8-3 hole.
"They hit us," Biondi said. "We knew it was going to happen. She (Duprey) is a young kid. She learned a lesson in that you can't keep the ball up. After that, she was fine. She kept the ball low."
West Haven got a run back in the third as Sierra Santana reached on an error, stole second and moved to third on a single by Kial Watts. After Watts stole second, Jolie Morrell's ground out drove in Santana to cut the deficit to 8-4.
Branford responded with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning, before the Westies had some golden scoring opportunities.
Amber Bonewicz doubled, but was thrown out at third in the fourth inning. In the fifth, Alexis Severino led off with a single, Pacapelli followed with a one-out single and Kial Watts singled to load the bases.
With the heart of the order up, West Haven scored just once as Morrell hit a fly ball to right which was turned into an error to score Severino. The rally ended there as Madison Watts struck out and Bonewicz bounced out to end the frame.
"We had a great opportunity right there," Biondi said.
Kial Watts led West Haven with three hits and a run scored, while Madison Watts drove in three runs and scored once and Morrell drove in a pair.
West Haven captain Sierra Santana helped the Westies to an 11-3 win over Hamden, April 23, 2014. File photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies thump Hamden in 18-hit attack
By MIKE MADERA
(April 23, 2014)- In the midst of a stretch which includes nine consecutive road contests, West Haven head coach Frank Biondi knows his team is heading in the right direction. Game six of the road trip confirmed this.
Behind three hits apiece from Sierra Santana, Kial Watts, Amber Bonewicz and Jolie Morrell, West Haven used an 18-hit attack to defeat Hamden 11-3 at Hamden High Wednesday afternoon. With the win, West Haven improved to 4-2 on the trip and 4-3 overall on the year.
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Westies fall to 3-3 with loss to Tigers
By MIKE MADERA
(April 21, 2014)- Riding a three-game winning streak, the West Haven softball team was well aware of the task at hand Monday afternoon. Traveling to Middletwon to play a tough Mercy team, the Westies hung around for better than five innings.
The sixth inning was a different story. Committing four errors in the bottom of the sixth, West Haven aided Mercy as the Tigers broke a 6-6 tie with five runs, on their way to an 11-6 victory over the Westies.
"I am disappointed," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said after his team fell to 3-3. "We did not play well. If we play well, we beat them. We played tentative."
The Westies did all of their scoring in the first three innings and held a 6-5 lead. Unfortunately for West Haven, the Tigers tied the game with one run in the fourth and capitalized on sloppy West Haven play in the sixth to end West Haven's winning streak.
"We had the lead," Biondi said. "We could have won the game."
Alexis Severino and the Westies fell to Mercy, April 21, 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven pitcher Sara Duprey went the distance, allowing 13 hits and walking three. Duprey did not record a strikeout.
Trailing 2-0 in the second, West Haven took the lead with three runs. Amber Bonewicz started the rally by reaching on an error, Alissa Tonucci was hit with a pitch and Alexis Severino walked to load the bases.
After Sierra Santana hit into a fielder's choice, Marisa Pacapelli and Kial Watts walked to force in two runs and Jolie Morrell was hit with a pitch to force in another.
Mercy took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the second, but West Haven answered with three of its own in the third.
Bonewicz again started the rally with a single and Tonucci and Severino followed with one-out singles to load the bases. Santana singled to drive in Bonewicz and Kial Watts delivered a two-out single to score Tonucci and Severino for a 6-5 lead.
Kial Watts had two hits and drove in three runs, but it was not enough in a loss to Mercy, April 21, 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We hit the ball well," Biondi said. "We just did not hit when we had to. We left the bases loaded in the third and had other opportunities."
Severino hit a one-out single in the fifth, but was left stranded and Kial Watts singled in the sixth. Morrell followed with a long ball to left, which was turned into an out, ending West Haven's last threat of the game.
Kial Watts finished with two hits and three runs batted in, while Severino added a pair of hits and two runs scored. Tonucci also scored twice in the loss.
Morrell slams House
Junior hits grand slam and drives in 7 runs in win over Hillhouse
By MIKE MADERA
(April 18, 2014)- Junior Jolie Morrell made the most of her opportunities Friday afternoon against Hillhouse. Hitting the ball hard throughout the contest, Morrell drove in seven runs and led a 19-hit attack in a 21-1 victory over Hillhouse in a game stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule in New Haven.
"She hit some shots today," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said of Morrell. "She hit the ball way over the leftfielder's head and it is still going. She had a great day. She had very good at bats."
Jolie Morrell led the West Haven offense with 7 runs batted in against Hillhouse, April 18, 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The offense was spread throughout the lineup as Amber Bonewicz, Alexis Severino and Alissa Tonucci each led the way with three hits. Bonewicz drove in two runs and scored another, and Severino and Tonucci each scored twice and drove in a run.
Marisa Pacapelli had two hits, scored three runs and drove in another and Madison Watts had two hits, two runs scored and two runs batted in.
"It was a nice win for us to get above .500," Biondi said as his team improved to 3-2. "We played great defense. Marisa Pacapelli made a tremendous play on a ball. We did not make any errors. We played good defense."
The Westies got all the runs they would need in the first inning, scoring twice. Sierra Santana reached on an error, stole second and third, and after Pacapelli walked, Santana scored on Kial Watts' single. Madison Watts drove in Pacapelli with a single for a 2-0 lead.
The Westies extended the lead to 7-0 with five runs in the second inning. Tonucci doubled, Severino singled to put runners on the corners and Santana reached on an error. Pacapelli drove in the first run of the inning and Morrell hit a grand slam to give West Haven a 7-0 lead.
While the offense was clicking on all cylinders, the pitching of Julia Bothwell was equally impressive. The sophomore allowed just one run in five innings on one hit, walking just one and striking out six.
"I thought she did a good job pitching," Biondi said of Bothwell. "She allowed a leadoff triple in the second, which scored on a ground out and she struck out three in the third. She did a nice job.
"She struck out six in the game. She was ahead in the count most of the time. I was happy with her for her first time pitching varsity."
West Haven put the game away with nine more runs in the fourth inning for a 16-1 lead.
Tonucci and Severino had run-scoring singles, Kial Watts walked with the bases loaded, Morrell hit a bases-clearing double and Madison Watts and Kristen Domek followed with additional run-scoring singles.
Two in a Row
Westies even record at 2-2 with win over Lyman Hall
By MIKE MADERA
(April 17, 2014)- After starting the season with a pair of losses, West Haven coach Frank Biondi was looking to change things up. When the long-time coach put sophomore Sara Duprey in the pitching circle against Shelton, the Westies picked up their first win of the season.
West Haven has now started hitting after a slow start to the season. Picking up 14 hits and riding the pitching of Duprey, West Haven improved to 2-2 with an 8-3 victory over Lyman Hall Thursday afternoon.
"The bats have been great the last two games," Biondi said. "I do not know why we stopped hitting in the first two games after we hit well in the scrimmage games. We are a good hitting team. The last two games, we have been stroking the ball through the entire lineup."
Five players had multiple hits in the game as Amber Bonewicz and Kristen Domek led the way with three apiece and Sierra Santana, Kial Watts and Madison Watts each had a pair. Kial Watts and Madison Watts each drove in two runs and Kial Watts scored twice.
After stranding a pair of runners in scoring position in the first two innings, West Haven took a 2-0 lead in the third inning as Kial Watts and Jolie Morrell singled with two outs and Madison Watts hit a two-out double to score both Kial Watts and Morrell.
The Westies blew the game open with four runs in the fourth inning. Again with two outs, Domek and Santana singled and Marisa Pacapelli walked to load the bases. Kial Watts singled to score Domek and Santana, and Morrell reached on an error to score another.
"Marisa Pacapelli has been getting on base," Biondi said. "She has been stealing, bunting and she made an excellent defensive play today.
"We are coming along. We are a work in progress. We are now hitting the way we are supposed to be."
Duprey (2-0), went the distance, allowing eight hits, walking two and striking out two in the win.
"She has pitched well," Biondi said of Duprey. "She is not wild. She throws strikes. She did a good job. I am very happy with her."
Leading 6-1 in the seventh, West Haven extended the margin to seven runs. Madison Watts and Bonewicz doubled for one run and after Alexis Severino singled to put runners on the corners, Domek got her third hit to drive in West Haven's final run.
Sophomore Sara Duprey leads WH
Westies pick up first win of year against Shelton
By MIKE MADERA
(April 14, 2014)- The West Haven softball team was looking for a spark after opening the season with a pair of losses. The Westies got that spark Monday afternoon in Shelton.
With sophomore Sara Duprey getting her first varsity start in the pitching circle and a new defensive alignment, the resurgent Westies defeated Shelton 7-2 on the road to improve to 1-2 on the year.
"It was a nice win," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "The kids were happy. The kid (Duprey) did a nice job out there.
"It allowed us to move Sierra (Santana) to center. She can get anything and she has a great arm. And Alex (Severino) goes to left, which is good. She did a good job out there."
Duprey went the distance for the Westies, allowing only two first inning runs. Duprey struck out five, walked two and allowed just six hits.
"She did a good job," Biondi said of Duprey. "The first inning aside, she was not in a whole lot of trouble throughout the game. She moved the ball around and did a good job."
West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Marisa Pacapelli reached on an error with one out, stole second and scored on Jolie Morrell's single to center.
After Shelton took the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning, West Haven took the lead for good with five runs in the third inning.
Sierra Santana started the rally with a single, stole second and third and scored the tying run on a passed ball. Pacapelli followed with a single, stole second, went to third when Kial Watts reached on an error and scored on Morrell's ground out.
Madison Watts followed with a single to score Kial Watts, Amber Bonewicz singled to scored Madison Watts and Bonewicz stole second, moved to third on an error on the throw and scored on a passed ball.
The Westies put the game away with another run in the seventh. Santana accounted for the run when she doubled and scored on an error on the play.
Santana finished with two hits, two runs scored and two stolen bases, Bonewicz had two hits a run batted in and a run scored , Morrell drove in two runs and Pacapelli stole two bases in the win.
Westies fall to 0-2 with loss to Hand
By MIKE MADERA
(April 10, 2014) – Looking to pick up its first win of the year, the West Haven softball team turned to senior captain Sierra Santana in the pitching circle.
It took all of two innings for the thoughts of a victory to slip away. Scoring three times in the first inning and two more in the second inning, Hand defeated West Haven 7-2 in Madison Thursday afternoon.
"I am very disappointed," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "We are not hitting the ball. We gave up some runs. There were plays we could have made."
Amber Bonewicz (c.) and the Westies did not have much to celebrate in a 7-2 loss to Hand Thursday afternoon. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Three extra base hits in the first inning led to a 3-0 Hand lead, before the Tigers used a two-out rally to score two more runs in the second for a 5-0 lead.
"We did not make any plays," Biondi said. "If we make the plays, maybe they get two runs. We are not doing very well right now."
The five runs were too much for the Westies to overcome as they went silently for most of the game.
Santana walked, but was left stranded in the first, then hit a two-out single in the third, but was again stranded.
Hand made two errors in the fourth inning, but West Haven did not score as Crista Brennan hit a fly ball to end the threat. Santana singled again with two outs in the fifth, but was left stranded for a third time.
The Westies finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning as Kial Watts led off with a single, Madison Watts walked with one out and Amber Bonewicz singled to load the bases.
With two outs, Alycia Sandella reached on an error to score Kial Watts and Madison Watts.
West Haven had one final rally in the seventh as Marisa Pacapelli reached on an error with one out, Jolie Morrell doubled and Madison Watts walked to load the bases. The threat ended when Bonewicz grounded out to end the contest.
Santana tossed a complete game, allowing nine hits and seven runs, while walking six and striking out two.
Alexis Severino fires the ball to the infield in West Haven's 3-2 loss to Sheehan, April 9, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Mistakes costly in season-opening loss to Sheehan
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (April 9, 2014) – West Haven coach Frank Biondi was well aware his team needed to play a near perfect game if it hoped to win in its season opener Wednesday afternoon against Sheehan. Unfortunately for Biondi and his squad, that was not the case.
Errors in the field and on the bases would prove costly as the Westies fell to the Titans 3-2 at Biondi Field.
"We made some mistakes," Biondi said after his team fell to 0-1. "We did not get it done today."
Trailing 3-0 in the sixth and having been stifled throughout the contest, the Westies rallied.
With one out, Alycia Sandella reached on an infield single and Marisa Pacapelli did the same with two outs. After Kial Watts walked to load the bases, Jolie Morrell laced a shot to left, scoring Sandella and Pacapelli.
Jolie Morrell played well in the season opener, including a two-run single. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Watts got caught between second and third on the play and was tagged out to end the frame.
"Getting just three hits in the game is alarming," Biondi said. "We only had one inning where we did anything. Two days ago, we were hitting the cover off the ball."
Morrell's two-run single was West Haven's last threat as the Westies went down quietly in the seventh. The lack of offense wasted a solid start by Watts in the pitching circle.
Watts went the distance, allowing eight hits, striking out five and walking just one batter. She allowed two earned runs.
Kial Watts struck out five in a loss to Sheehan, April 9, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I thought she pitched well," Biondi said of Watts. "She did a good job. They got some hits on 0-2 pitches. That hurt a little bit.
"She settled in and did a good job. She only allowed two hits in their last four innings."
Sheehan jumped on Watts early, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Sophomore Hunter Selvaggi laced a double to center for a 1-0 Sheehan lead.
The Titans increased the lead to 2-0 in the third as Kelly Brosnan knocked in a run. The biggest run for the Titans came in the fifth as Selvaggi tripled with two outs and scored on an error at for a 3-0 Sheehan lead.
The Westies went down quietly until the fifth when Amber Bonewicz was the first base runner by way of a walk.
"We just didn't get it done today," Biondi said.
West Haven senior captain Sierra Santana will look to lead the Westies back to the postseason in 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies primed for success
By MIKE MADERA
(April 3, 2014) – It is a new time at West Haven. With a successful 2013 season in its rear view mirror, the 2014 team has high expectations.
Those expectations are attainable. If the Westies can fill some key positions, there is no reason to believe the Westies won't be playing in June.
Before all that can happen, there is plenty to take care of in the coming weeks.
"I like the kids," West Haven coach Frank Biondi said. "But, we have not had a full team yet. It is hard to speculate. We have had kids out sick.
"Marisa Pacapelli has been hitting the ball well. She has been hitting hard. Jolie (Morrell) has been hitting the ball hard and Sierra Santana and Kial Watts are our big guns right now. Madison Watts has cut down on her swing and is hitting the ball better."
The biggest challenge may be in the pitcher's circle. Graduated star Camdyn Morgillo took her 13 wins to Springfield College, leaving a big spot to fill.
That battle appears to be between senior Sierra Santana and junior Kial Watts. Santana has experience in the circle as she pitched as a sophomore when Morgillo went down with a leg injury. Two years wiser and stronger will benefit the West Haven captain.
"Replacing Camdyn is the key," Biondi said. "We have Sierra, Kial and some younger kids in the mix."
Watts is also solid in the circle and the Westies will look to both for leadership as each will play shortstop when the other is pitching.
Also in the mix to pitch are sophomores Sara Duprey and Julia Bothwell. Biondi likes what he sees from both and if one can emerge, West Haven's infield remains strong and Madison Watts would shift to the outfield, strengthening another spot.
The pitching staff has a solid infield behind them as junior and three-year starter Jolie Morrell anchors one corner at first base, a position she has steadily improved at. Sophomore Madison Watts will play the other corner at third as she has proven to be a solid fielder.
Jolie Morrell will anchor a corner of the infield at first base. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The middle of the infield will see junior and three-year starter Marisa Pacapelli at second and either four-year starter Santana or Kial Watts at shortstop.
Marisa Pacapelli (l.) will play a big role in the middle of the infield at second base, while Madison Watts (r.) moves from right field to play third base. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Sierra is a tremendous shortstop," Biondi said. "She is our team leader. Her attitude is really good. She is a great kid, a hustler. She works hard and loves to play.
"I think our infield is really solid. I don't see anyone having a whole lot better infield. Madison Watts is very good at third and Kial Watts is a good infielder too. There is no one better than Sierra at short. She has a cannon. Marisa Pacapelli is swinging the bat well and Jolie (Morrell) is Jolie. She is a hard-nosed player."
The pitching staff will also see a familiar face behind the plate. Returning from a one-year absence due to a move out of state, Amber Bonewicz will handle the pitchers.
Bonewicz has been slowed this spring as she has been under the weather, but Biondi is looking forward to her return as her defense and potent bat will help the Westies.
"Amber is very good," Biondi said of Bonewicz. "She is a very good catcher. She is going to help us without a doubt."
The outfield for the Westies is anchored in center field by speedster and three-year starter Alexis Severino. The junior has taken control of the outfield the last two years with her solid glove and will need to do so again in 2014.
Senior Kristen Domek will play in right and Career transfer Victoria Navarro will be in left. Madison Watts will shift to right if either Duprey or Bothwell pitch, with Kial Watts, who is a three-year starter, moving to third.
"We want to get to the state tournament," Biondi said. "We want to be competitive in our league. Mercy is tough. It is a tough league."
Along with pitching and defense, Biondi knows his team needs to swing the bats. With Santana at the top of the order and Morrell, Bonewicz and the Watts' sisters in the middle, there should be plenty of opportunities to get on the scoreboard.
The key for the Westies will be patience at the plate and taking advantage of the opportunities presented.
Kial Watts will play shortstop and pitch for the 2014 Westies. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Sophomores will also have a role in 2014 as Alycia Sandella, Alissa Tonucci and Alexandra Birdsall are in the mix. Sandella swings the bat well, Tonucci continues to improve and Birdsall is a solid infielder.
Freshmen Lauren Morano and Paige Sheridan could also see time at the varsity level. Morano is a hard-hitting lefty and Sheridan looks to be the starting catcher in 2015.
West Haven opens the 2014 season Wednesday, April 9 when the Westies host Sheehan at 3:45 p.m.