The Westhampton Beach softball team will have seven seniors on its roster to start the season, which would typically mean a team is bringing back a ton of experience. But with just two of those seven being regular starters last season, a good portion of the team will be getting its first varsity experience this spring.
Leading the way will be Brooke Walker, an NYIT commit who will start many of the games in the pitching circle and bat cleanup for the Lady Hurricanes. McKinley Skala will play center field and bat leadoff at the top of the lineup, but after that, it’s a little bit up in the air as to which players go where exactly, newly anointed head coach Jeff Doroski, who is taking over for the departed John Vahle, explained last week.
“Early on, I’m just trying to put pieces of the puzzle together in the lineup and who is going to work best at what position,” he said. “Change is tough for people sometimes, but the girls have been great with me. They work really hard, they’re very coachable, and we have some talent here.”
Senior Marin VanderSchaaf, sophomores Melanie Meyer and Alexis Valerius and freshman Allie Perascandola are the only other players returning from last season. VanderSchaaf will play outfield and spell Walker a little bit at pitcher, while Meyer is taking over for All-State catcher Lauren Ramos, who graduated, and Valerius will play third base or shortstop, taking over for All-County player Lexi Miller, who also graduated. Seniors Maura Pesce (first base), Emma Daniels (first base), Emma Albert (utility) and Annabelle Seeliger (outfield) are all new to varsity after either not having played the past few years or having played junior varsity last season. Also new to varsity this season is sophomore infielder Elana Seltzer and freshman outfielder and backup catcher Lily Henthorne.
League V will be a competitive league this season where perennial playoff teams Mount Sinai and Sayville will be the early favorites, followed by Amityville, East Hampton, Elwood/John Glenn, Bayport/Blue Point, Miller Place and Shoreham/Wading River.
“The part that’s tough for me is not knowing what we’re competing against,” Doroski said. “I don’t know what the league looks like. I know some of the good teams, but not seeing them, I’m not sure where we’re going to stack up.”
Westhampton Beach opens the season on March 27 with a league game at Bayport.
“My goal for them is to compete every time we step out there on the field,” Doroski said. “If we’re working hard on a daily basis in practice and can translate that over to games, we should be able to compete. The ultimate goal is to compete and win.”