Barnegat Leader Spring Sports Previews

Still Young, Barnegat Softball Squad Looks to Climb Ranks

Apr 19, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy DEFENSE, OFFENSE: Sophomore Adriana Romano not only provides Barnegat with strikeout power but she also leads the team in extra-base hits thus far.

Most often, returning seven of nine starters from a previous season’s softball team is a great thing. Yet when your team is still one of the youngest in a division that features several of the top teams in the Shore Conference, the players’ previous experience is a benefit, but the climb toward the top remains quite steep.

“Simply based upon last season, B South could again prove to be the toughest top-to-bottom division in the Shore,” said Barnegat coach Michael Palmieri, whose Bengals a year ago went 2-12 in the Shore Conference Class B South division but already this season have won three divisional contests. “Given our youth and modest experience, I do not see us running with the top teams this year. However, last year’s seasoning of our young players has paid dividends. We entered the season young but not wide-eyed.”

Barnegat has leadership with only two seniors, shortstop Molly McEneaney and outfielder Tori Leonard. Both have played several years now, and their experience will continue to help the younger Bengals get further acclimated to life in B South.

Of course, two players on a softball field don’t make a team, and, with the challenges that face them, the younger players are going to need to rise higher if Barnegat expects to be anywhere near the top of the division – which, for all intents and purposes, should be led by one of the best teams in the state, Donovan Catholic, and public-school frontrunners Lacey and Jackson Liberty.

One of the players Barnegat is relying upon to help bring the team higher is sophomore pitcher Adriana Romano, who last spring recorded 137 strikeouts – already accounting for 40 percent of what it will take to set the school record for career whiffs. She also swings a pretty good stick in the third slot of the batting order, from which she batted .475 a year ago. Still, the Bengals can’t rely solely on their hurler.

Junior outfielder Alaina DeSanti, junior second baseman Priscilla Pitiak, sophomore outfielder/pitcher Destiny Fratianni, sophomore first baseman/catcher Ashley Sojak and sophomore third baseman Julianna Padilla are the returning starters who will be asked to take things up a notch this season, both in the field and at the plate. As for newcomers to the program, freshman catcher Julianna Cannizzaro is expected to make an immediate impact with her versatility and speed – something the Bengals have in abundance.

The rest of the roster includes junior Christina Golaszewski (OF); sophomores Abby Bopp (OF), Morgan Giaccone (1B), Meagan Hynes (OF) and Scarlett Roberts (IF); and freshmen A.J. Kappmeier (1B) and Michelle Watts (OF).

Barnegat started the season April 1 with a 7-3 win over Point Pleasant Borough, followed by a 10-3 victory over division rival Pinelands on April 3. On April 9, Lacey pounded the Bengals in a 14-3 contest, and the next day the Bengals (3-3) dropped a 6-1 decision to Toms River South before Jackson Liberty shut out Barnegat, 8-0, on April 11.

Fortunately, Barnegat rebounded the next day, scoring twice each in the third, fifth and sixth innings en route to a 7-6 victory over Point Pleasant. Cannizzaro went 2-for-4, while Pitiak and Sojak each went 2-for-3, and Romano swatted a pair of doubles in three at-bats. DeSanti smashed a two-run home run to help the offense. From the circle, Romano allowed 10 hits and a walk while fanning nine.

As of April 12, Romano led the Bengals with 11 hits, including six doubles, while Fratianni, Pitiak and McEneaney, who had tallied seven RBI as well, each had six hits. Heading into the third week of the season, Fratianni led the squad with five walks and three stolen bases.

— David Biggy

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