It’s a bit of a puzzle for Woodstock Academy softball coach Jason Gerum.
He has the pieces for what he feels will be a successful team; he just has to make them all fit.
That’s why Gerum has elected to play as many scrimmages as possible this spring.
“We loaded up (on scrimmages). Some years you don’t want to, you want to practice things, but this year, we have players, we just have to figure out where to put them. With so many girls who have played a lot of games outside of Woodstock Academy, we have to piece them into where we think we need them and to do that, we have to see them in live action,” Gerum said.
The Centaurs finished 9-13 last season but lost their entire outfield (Haley Armstrong, Naomi Rivard and Ciri Miller) and third baseman Casidhe Hoyt to graduation.
The problem is Gerum has four different players vying for the third base job; five who are quality second basemen and four who have experience at first base.
He has one experienced outfielder, sophomore Cam Corrado.
“I’ve got to figure out what’s best for the team. We’re definitely going to have girls playing out of their normal position because of the way we graduated. It will be a matter of who fits where best and who will be strongest in certain areas to get some decent players in the outfield. That will be the biggest feat in the preseason to figure that out,” Gerum said.
One piece the Centaurs don’t have to worry about is shortstop Hannah Burgess.
The senior is coming off a junior campaign that saw her hit .551 with six doubles and three triples and tied for the team lead with Hoyt in RBIs with 23.
“I can’t believe it, this is so weird,” Burgess said of this being her final season in a Woodstock Academy uniform. “I’ve been a part of this team for the last four years and it’s so surreal that it’s almost over.”
While her Woodstock Academy career may be coming to a close, her softball career is not.
Burgess committed to play for Division I Colgate University in December.
“It’s easier because I’m not worrying about it anymore, but it’s, honestly, still a lot of training for the first day I step out on to a college field. I definitely would like to do something special this year, maybe a run for the (Eastern Connecticut Conference title) and get into the state tournament again,” Burgess said.
For that to happen, the Centaurs have to be solid in the circle.
Gerum thought he had a choice of three pitchers.
That number is down to two.
Senior Hannah Wotton, who threw the most innings for the Centaurs last year (80) and posted a 5-9 record decided not to come out this season.
It leaves Gerum with a pair of sophomores.
Mackenzie Leveille (58 innings pitched last year) and Megan Preston (7) committed to play the game in the offseason.
“I would have liked to have that senior experience with the sophomores – last year was great to have them rotating and have some depth there – so we narrowed the depth a little this year and don’t necessarily have the experience but I believe Mackenzie and Megan got great experience as freshmen,” Gerum said. “They will be a good 1-2 punch that will keep us in games.”
The pitchers will have help.
Behind the plate is an experienced catcher in senior Julianna Nuttall and she is backed up by dependable sophomore Marissa Mayhew.
“Julianna has been unbelievable, Marissa comes in off the bench and they’re both very good,” Gerum said. “Julianna is the leader on the field. She’s experienced, she’s tough; she brings a lot to the table. I’m feeling pretty good in that area.”
Nuttall also hit .327 to help with the offense which also features Cam Corrado (.318), Heather Converse (.304, 3 doubles, 10 RBIs), Maia Corrado (.289, 3 doubles, 8 RBIs) and Hannah Chubbuck (.284, 13 RBIs).
“I haven’t seen us hit too much yet, but we’re pretty strong defensively and last year, we were pretty strong offensively. We should be pretty good,” Burgess said.
There is one part of the conversation that Gerum is very happy about.
It’s where he said that the Centaurs have a lot of girls playing a lot of games outside of Woodstock Academy.
In the past, Gerum said only two or three may have played travel ball. Now, his whole lineup with the possible exception of one or two are playing softball year round.
“It’s allowed us to, at least, be very competitive,” Gerum said. “When I first came here and we played the ECC Large schools, it was a mercy (rule game). I’m not saying we can’t get mercied here or there, but we can also mercy teams. We’re having good games with them. We still haven’t been able to beat them all, but we’re having good games with them.”
The Centaurs will have to hope they play well against teams like East Lyme, Fitch, and Norwich Free Academy since they are in the same division in the league as them and will play each of those teams twice.
“The schedule is always a gauntlet,” Gerum said. “Of course, we can get a lot better, we only won nine games (last year), but we’re also playing very good opponents. I think we’re always in the middle in terms of competitiveness, if we were in an average league, I think we win three-quarters of our games and go 15-5 every year. In ECC Division I, we are playing some of the top teams in the state twice and we have Griswold, Stonington, Waterford as our crossover games. That’s 50 percent of our games playing state-ranked teams. We want to compete with and beat those teams. Make the ECC and state tournaments. We haven’t won a state tournament game yet, we’ve made it the last four years, and now, I would like to take the next step and see if we can make a little run.”
The Centaurs open April 4 on the road at Bacon Academy.

Girls’ softball schedule
Date  Opponent  Time/ Location
Apr. 4  Bacon Academy  4 p.m. / Away
Apr. 6  Fitch  11 a.m. / Home
Apr. 9  Griswold  4 p.m. / Home
Apr. 11  NFA  4 p.m. / Away
Apr. 13  Stonington  11 a.m. / Away
Apr. 16  Fryeburg (Maine)  10 a.m. / Home
Apr. 16  East Lyme  4 p.m. / Home
Apr. 18  Plainfield  11 a.m./ Home
Apr. 23  Killingly  4 p.m. / Away
Apr. 25  Tolland  4 p.m. / Away
Apr. 27  Lyman Memorial  11 a.m. / Away
Apr. 29  Waterford  4:15 p.m. / Home
May 1  NFA  4 p.m. / Home
May 3  Lyman Memorial  4 p.m. / Home
May 6  E. Lyme  4 p.m./ Away
May 11  Valley Regional  4:30 p.m. / Home
May 13  Fitch  6 p.m. / Away
May 15  Hale Ray  6 p.m. / Away
May 17  Montville  4 p.m. / Away
May 20  Haddam-Killingw. 4:30 home

Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy


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