Stafford Leader Spring Sports Previews

Experienced Southern Regional Softball Squad Takes Aim at Another Division Title

Apr 12, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Emily Thompson is one of many seniors back for another season with the Southern Regional softball team, as the Rams take aim at a second straight Shore Conference Class A South crown.

It’s always nice when a softball team returns a bunch of players from the previous season. Second-year Southern Regional coach Jamie Bernaldo has it beyond nice.

“We’re returning all our varsity starters from last year,” she said. “Our Rams are excited to begin another softball season. This year, our team is made up of veteran players as well as some new faces, and all the players have one thing in common – a winning mentality. We have a fantastic group of athletes, and we’re excited to see where this season takes us.”

Last season, the Rams sprang a mild shocker by tying Toms River North for the Shore Conference Class A South division title. With an entire roster of experienced players – most of whom are seniors who have been playing for several seasons now – the places the Rams can go are almost unlimited.

Very few teams in A South are as deep as Southern’s, but talent and experience aren’t everything in softball, something the Rams learned last year en route to a 12-11 record. If the Rams can steer clear of making errors in crucial situations and manufacture runs with timely hitting and solid baserunning, they’re going to be in most games.

And it all starts in the infield for Southern, particularly with its battery of senior pitcher Tatiyana Ford and catcher Taylor Bass, who know each other extremely well and next fall will be playing together at Rowan College at Burlington County. When Ford is at 100 percent health – which hasn’t always been the case the past couple of seasons – she’s as good as any other pitcher in the county, and Bass, a smart and defensive backstop, very much helps Ford stay on point with her location.

Behind them, the Rams have a solid infield, starting at shortstop with senior Emily Thompson, an athlete with a lot of range. Alongside Thompson will be junior first baseman Sarah Pampalone, senior infielders Christina D’Amodio and Keeley Himmelreich, and sophomores Kendall Adams and Ella DiPietro, who both saw significant time at third base and second base, respectively, last season.

With senior Jackie Herrera patrolling center field alongside senior outfielders Colleen Camburn and Chrissy Rinaldi and junior Torre Makenzie back to the outfield, the Rams are in good shape. Junior catcher Victoria Cona, sophomore pitcher Laci Yacono and freshmen Elizabeth Gosse (P/OF), Sarah Lally (first/third base), Makayla Alessi (IF) and Megan Campanile (OF) will add depth to the lineup this spring.

The Rams started the season on April 1 with an 11-7 victory over division rival Brick Memorial, followed by a 12-5, non-conference win against Cedar Creek on April 2. Southern sustained its first loss in A South during a 4-10 decision against Central on April 3, but bounced back with a pair of victories in the St. Joseph Round Robin Tournament in Hammonton on April 6.

During a 3-2 win over Middle Township, the Rams scored a run in the top of the eighth inning to pull off the victory. Gosse earned the win in the circle and went 2-for-3 with a double and RBI at the plate, while Camburn, Herrera and Thompson each delivered hits. In a 13-0 blowout of Gateway Regional, Adams went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, while D’Amodio went 3-for-3 with a pair of runs batted in, and Herrera drove in two runs while going 2-for-4. Camburn also swatted two hits. In a 7-0 loss to the host team, St. Joseph, on April 7, the Rams mustered only five hits.

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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