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Sophomore Sammie Franceschi rounds the bases after sending the ball over the fence for a game-tying, three-run homer when the East Haven softball squad played North Branford in its season opener on March 30. The Yellowjackets took a 15-10 defeat in an 11-inning slugfest. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Freshman Magdalena Barthel tags out a North Branford baserunner at home plate during East Haven’s recent loss to the T-Birds. Barthel is expected to play a major role behind the plate for the Yellowjackets this year. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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The East Haven softball team enters 2019 with a young team that’s without six regulars from a year ago. Not only did the Yellowjackets graduate five starters, but senior captain Taylor Myers is out for the season with an injury. Despite getting out to an 0-2 start, Head Coach Ed Crisafi still believes the Easties can hold their own and have a nice year this spring.
“We’re very young, but we still expect a lot, because we’re a very talented young team. There is a lot of talent among the underclassmen,” said Crisafi, whose club went 14-10 last season. “We might be a year away, but I think we can do some damage this year. [Assistant coach Jeff Crisafi] and I are expecting a lot, because of the talent we have. Most of these girls play year-round.”
The Southern Connecticut Conference has realigned its divisions this year. Now, East Haven is competing in the SCC Housatonic Division with North Haven, Branford, Sacred Heart Academy, and Sheehan. In addition to playing two games apiece against those teams, the Yellowjackets also have crossover contests with fellow conference foes West Haven, Lyman Hall, Amity, and Cheshire. Going outside the SCC, East Haven will be facing perennial powers like North Branford, Fitch, and Norwich Free Academy.
“All the teams we pick up would be good teams in the SCC. It’s nice to go outside the league, so the girls can see somebody else besides a SCC team,” Coach Crisafi said. “We want to get them good competition. Playing them is only going to make you better, especially as young as we are. It’ll mean good things for the upcoming years.”
Crisafi said that East Haven will rotate 17 players in and out of its lineup this season. Sophomore Tori Heaphy and freshman Emilee Bishop will switch between the pitcher’s mound and shortstop, while freshman Magdalena Barthel is handling the catching duties. Senior Jaime Gallo will play first base, senior captain Jenna Esposito and sophomore Sammie Franceschi are expected to rotate at second base, and sophomore Kayla Rosario is manning the hot corner at third. Freshman Jilien Ayala is a utility infielder, and senior Selena DeFelice will serve primarily in a pinch-running role.
In the outfield, senior captain Megan Roberts is patrolling center field for the Easties. Junior Becky Flynn will play right field, and junior Jill Hay and sophomore Brooke Clancy slated to share time in left field. Sophomore Kayla Goodrich, sophomore Carly Cardova, junior Stephanie Sorrentino, and senior Erica Colacino are also ready to step into the outfield whenever necessary.
East Haven started its season by taking defeats against North Branford and Cheshire in a pair of high-scoring matchups. On March 30, the Yellowjackets hosted North Branford for their opener and dropped a 15-10 decision in 11 innings. Then on April 3, East Haven took an 8-5 defeat at Cheshire.
Against North Branford, Franceschi, Flynn, Hay, and Roberts all had two hits for East Haven. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Franceschi socked a three-run home run to tie the game at 10-10 and force extras. Heaphy pitched five innings, and Bishop threw six innings for the Yellowjackets.
Bishop took the mound against Cheshire and only allowed three earned runs in the defeat. Gallo, Heaphy, and Flynn had two hits apiece, while Rosario hit a two-run double. Heaphy finished with a pair of RBI, and Gallo had one RBI.
From the Sidelines
The East Haven softball team’s roster features senior captains Taylor Myers, Jenna Esposito, and Megan Roberts; fellow seniors Jaime Gallo, Erica Colacino, Angeliss Perez, Christina Fowler, and Selena DeFelice; juniors Stephanie Sorrentino, Becky Flynn, Anna Guiliani, Jillian Hay, Kaylee Vollano, and Rebecca DeMatteo; sophomores Kayla Rosario, Carly Cardova, Tori Heaphy, Sammie Franceschi, Kayla Goodrich, Jessica Faulkner, and Brooke Clancy; plus freshmen Teresa Vitello, Gianna Corso, Jilien Ayala, Jennifer Colon, Kayla Stefania, Magdalena Barthel, and Emilee Bishop.
Head Coach Ed Crisafi is in his 26th season as the Yellowjackets’ skipper. East Haven’s assistant coaches are Jeff Crisafi, Kristina Serio, Ricky Narracci, and Jenna Gaudioso.
Last year, East Haven posted a regular-season record of 12-8 to qualify for both the SCC and Class M State tournaments. In SCCs, the Yellowjackets earned a 9-4 win versus Hand in the quarterfinals, before taking a 5-0 defeat to North Haven in the semis. For the state bracket, East Haven defeated Berlin by a 7-0 final in a first-round matchup and then lost a 3-1 contest against Griswold in the second round.
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