Annemarie Brown, formerly Cangiolosi, coached her daughter Lilah’s youth softball team last season, and that gave her the push she needed to make a step up.
Brown is returning to the team that she made a name for herself with as head coach of East Hampton’s varsity softball team. A physical education teacher in East Hampton for the past 16 years, Brown, who graduated from the district in 1998, was one of team’s top players during her time on the team. She carried that over to a successful college career at SUNY Cortland, where she still holds a pitching record, including a 1.33 career earned run average. For her success on the softball field, Brown was inducted into East Hampton’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Returning to the program is a bit of a family affair for Brown, as well. Her father and brothers built the dugouts at the varsity field and donated them to the school in memory of their grandmother, Molly Cangiolosi, who was a longtime phys ed teacher in the district. Brown’s cousin, Melanie Anderson, who also played softball in college, is her assistant coach.
Everything just fit right into place for Brown to make the decision now to take over the team that was previously coached by Kathy Amicucci, who took over for famed Lou Reale in 2015. Brown was a player under Reale, and then, after returning home from college, was an assistant coach for him for seven years before having her kids. She’s confident she will bring the program back to its former glory.
“It feels awesome to be back,” Brown said. “These girls have a ton of talent. They were just missing the coaching lately. But now it’s back. Bringing Bonac softball back.”
Brown has a good mix of upperclassmen returning for her first go with the team this spring, and some up-and-coming players new to varsity. Leading the team will be senior Becca Kuperschmid, who played mostly center field last season, but will be moving to shortstop this season. Senior Ella Gurney will continue to play first base, and fellow classmates Erin Decker and Raven Biondo, both outfielders, are also returning. Mary McDonald, another senior, is also on the team this season.
Junior Sophia Swanson will handle most, if not all, of the pitching duties. And then the team gets pretty young at various positions. Emma Silvera, a junior, is up from junior varsity and will man center field, while Katina Osterberg, a sophomore, looks to be the team’s starting catcher. Emily Kennedy, an eighth-grader, will play third base, and freshman Maddie Brown is expected to play second. Reaghan Anderson, Emily Brewer, Claire Hopkins, Georgiana Rudolph and Tia Weiss, all outfielders, make up the rest of the team.
After playing in a power-point based division setup last season, the county opted to go back to the league system, with teams qualifying for the playoffs with .500 records or better. East Hampton will play in a formidable League V this season, which includes perennial playoff teams Mount Sinai and Sayville, along with Amityville, Bayport/Blue Point, Elwood/John Glenn, Shoreham/Wading River and Westhampton Beach.
Brown agreed that the league is competitive, but she feels like her team will be up to the task.
“Our goals as a team is every pitch, every inning. Bringing it back to the basics,” she said. “We have a team motto to hold the rope. Basically, if you were holding on to a rope on a cliff of a mountain, who on your team would you want to hold the rope for you and who would you want to hold the rope for? Once you can say everyone, then we are destined to win a lot of ball games. And I think we are right there.”
East Hampton is scheduled to play a non-league game at Southampton this Friday, March 22, at 4 p.m. and will get the league season underway this Monday, March 25, at Glenn at 4:30 p.m.