Changes pg 1 3-08-24

Softball Preview
afoot for
There was a celebratory atmosphere last May when the Woodstock Academy softball team left the field after a win over Killingly that gave the Centaurs the ECC Div. II regular season title.
With that success, Woodstock was elevated back into Div. I of the ECC this season.
The team also saw head coach Jay Gerum step aside and his former assistant, Brad Favreau, step into the void.
“I feel like things are going pretty good,” said senior Savannah Schley. “We’re all working together well, sticking together in practice. I think it’s going to go smoothly.”
Because Gerum and Favreau had worked together for many years, beginning in Griswold and continuing at Woodstock, Favreau thinks the transition is not going to be difficult.
“We believe in a lot of the same principles, our philosophies are similar, and he certainly did not leave the cupboard bare. He brought up some young kids to pinch run, played some time in the infield and outfield, so he gave them some varsity experience that will be helpful to us,” Favreau said.
Whenever high school softball is brought up, there is one position to consider immediately — the pitcher.
The Centaurs did lose Lexi Thompson who pitched 100 innings last season and posted an 11-7 record with 142 strikeouts.
But junior Grace DelSanto saw plenty of time in the circle, pitching 45 innings with 51 K’s and a 5-1 record.
Kaya Nichols, Schley and Kaylee Ziarko may spell DelSanto.
“You never have enough (pitching),” Favreau said. “The depth there is good. Kaylee is only a sophomore but has pitched some big innings in summer ball and has looked good early on. Kaya has pitched quite a bit and Savannah is potentially in the mix so having four who can throw the ball over the plate is certainly important.”
Another big departure was Madison Martinez, not only due to her bat where she hit .383, but because she was the primary catcher for the team.
Junior Avery Hardacker and sophomore Ellary Sampson will see time as part of the battery.
In addition to Martinez, the softball team also lost the offensive contributions of Thompson (.378, 9 HR, 36 RBIs); Elizabeth Morgis (.444, 18 RBI); and Avery Collin (.394, 2 HR, 19 RBI).
Senior first baseman Delaney Anderson hit .295 with 11 RBI and shortstop Sarah McArthur (.434, 18 RBI) also returns.
The defense is going to be a little young, just like the team as a whole.
McArthur will anchor at short with Anderson, Nichols, DelSanto, Schley, sophomore Maci Corradi and Sampson all seeing time in the infield.
Senior Mia Pannone returns in the outfield with junior Madison Bloom, sophomore Campbell Favreau, Ziarko, and Nichols all possibly out on the grass.
“The defense is going to be different from last year because we lost so many seniors,” Pannone said. “We’re looking strong, doing a lot of conditioning and a lot of drills. We’re going to be good.”
The four seniors are going to be counted on for leadership.
Fortunately, all of them are used to varsity play as the entire quartet have been varsity players for all four of their years at Woodstock.
“I think that’s definitely a help knowing that there are so many younger kids who need varsity experience,” McArthur said. “There are not a lot of juniors (four) so we’re a very young team. We have to help provide communication for the young girls who don’t know the game as well, help them out, have positive attitudes even helping with their mechanics if we see something that the coaches don’t.”
There is some familiarity with the coaching staff as Dave St. Jean returns as an assistant for the fifth year and Chris Mayhew will continue as JV coach for a third year.
“We’ve added Hannah Burgess who was, arguably, one of the best to play softball here at Woodstock. She graduated in 2019 and was a tireless worker. She’s been a huge addition as the girls have really responded to her and her ability to teach. We’re happy to have her,” Favreau said.
Burgess hit .569 in her senior year at Woodstock and went on to play at Colgate University.
The Centaurs will have to, once again, navigate Div. I of the ECC alongside Norwich Free Academy, East Lyme, Fitch and Waterford.
“We just have to go out and play with the schedule given us. Obviously, moving up to Div. I is not really a reward (for winning Div. II a year ago). We have to make the most of it, compete, put the uniform on and run between the lines. We’re not going to shy away from the competition, but it puts you in a little predicament when you are trying to make the state tournament because you need balance in your schedule,” Favreau said.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy

Four seniors (from left to right) Savannah Schley, Delaney Anderson, Mia Pannone and Sarah McArthur will help lead the Centaurs as they transition back into Div. I play in the ECC this season. Photo by Marc Allard/Woodstock Academy.


RocketTheme Joomla Templates