OK, so I’ve got 3 out of 5 right for the first day of the Section 1 softball tournament. Not off to a bad start if I do say so myself. Now onto the first round games, here’s a look at how I see this day going:
No. 16 Clarkstown North at No. 1 Clarkstown South, 4:30 p.m.: On general principle, it’s hard to beat a team three times in a season. These two league rivals and district rivals see each other a lot. The Rams have had a real good year but Briana Keaveney, Sara Herskowitz, Nicole Ritsick and the Vikings are the top seed for a reason. They’ll have too much firepower for the Vikings: Prediction: Clarkstown South 10, Clarkstown North 1. Next up: The winner will play No. 9 Scarsdale/No. 8 Arlington Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 15 Mamaroneck at No. 2 North Rockland, 4:30 p.m.: Last year, the Tigers won their first playoff game. This team has struggled a bit but this is the final go around before Kimi Chiapparelli goes to Iona. And her bat for sure will keep the Tigers in this BUT this Red Raider team has been outstanding all year. Up and down the lineup and solid arms in the circle. Prediction: North Rockland 11, Mamaroneck 3. Next up: The winner will host No. 10 Fox Lane/No. 7 Saunders Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 14 Mahopac at No. 3 John Jay-East Fishkill, 4:30 p.m.: To be perfectly honest, I’m a little surprised the Patriots are the three-seed but I wouldn’t change it based on the out of league schedules both South and North Rockland play but I digress. Julie Walpole, Caitlin DeMuro and Cheyenne Paul have provided some good firepower for the Indians this year but they get the “unfortunate” draw of facing John Jay-East Fishkill. Ally Mueller, Bridgette Rooney, Kellie Raccosta Samantha Fitzgerald and Tori Dixon can all do a lot of damage with the stick. Prediction: John Jay-East Fishkill 18, Mahopac 2. Next up: The winner will play the winner of No. 11 New Rochelle/No. 6 Suffern.
No. 13 White Plains at No. 4 Ursuline, 4:30 p.m.: This sort of goes back to a similar principle to the South/North matchup. It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season. These two league rivals played twice and the Koalas won both. But if you look at the score, you see what could be the trend in today’s game. The Koalas blew out the Tigers in the first matchup but on the second go around, White Plains kept Ursuline to single digit runs. If White Plains led by Juliet Lodes, Stacy Mendez and Sarah Carrier can keep this game close there could be an upset brewing here. However, Angie Rizzi and Kayla Castro have been hitting out of there minds this year. It’s been pretty hard to quiet their sticks and I don’t see it happening here. Prediction: Ursuline 6, White Plains 3. Next up: The winner will play No. 12 Port Chester/No. 5 Ketcham Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 12 Port Chester at No. 5 Ketcham, 1:30 p.m.: This has been an extremely interesting year for the Indians. Not your prototypical. The thing you can always count on is this team’s got a lot of experience led by Andrea Bombace. They’ve got solid hitters behind her in Danielle Kaufmann and the return of Taylor Travis. I do really like the Rams and I know what senior leader Cassie Lagana said the other day. They’ve had a lot solid hitters led by Skylar Romann. The thing is about this game is that the experience of Ketcham will and should win out. I believe this game will be not be as easy for the Indians as one might believe. Prediction: Ketcham 7, Port Chester 4. Next up: The winner will play No. 13 White Plains/No. 4 Ursuline Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 11 New Rochelle at No. 6 Suffern, 4:30 p.m.: The Huguenots have played well this year and this will be a tough matchup for the Mounties. Offensively, this team is extremely balanced. Just about everyone’s batting over 300 for the season. They have three girls (Kristin Lise, Melissa Costa, Stephanie Ryder) who have driven in over 20 runs during the regular season. The Mounties have been really good all season. The Wood Sisters (Kate and Allie) have been good in the circle. They have a pretty solid lineup led by Allie Spinner, Hayley Fredricks, and Sidney Padilla. New Rochelle’s been in some scrappy games edging out some good teams during the regular season but I do see the Mounties being the third Rockland team in Class AA to win today. Prediction: Suffern 5, New Rochelle 4. Next up: The winner will No. 14 Mahopac/No. 3 John Jay-East Fishkill Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 10 Fox Lane at No. 7 Saunders, 4:30 p.m.: This matchup is intriguing. Saunders has proven this year they can hit. Amanda Kiriakos, Cassidy Montes, and April Sepulveda are proven hitters. Fox Lane’s got some solid hitters as well led by Lucy Crerend, Maria Vioiante, Kate Muller and Emily Boccia. The difference is going to be the pitching in this game. And i still give a slight edge to Fox Lane despite not throwing Alexis Bazos out there. Prediction: Fox Lane 6, Saunders 3. Next up: The winner will face No. 15 Mamaroneck/No. 2 North Rockland Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 9 Scarsdale at No. 8 Arlington, 4:30 p.m.: Scarsdale is a good team. No two ways about this — they have a solid lineup led by Emily Nishiwaki, Sarah Wintraub, Sophie Hodges and Kaylie Waterhouse. The thing about Arlington is though they are still a good team despite a sort of up and down road. Lauren Fazio is still a pretty good hitter and Kayla Andrews is a solid pitcher. The Admirals did beat a pretty good Walkill team last week going into the tournament. Prediction: Scarsdale 7, Arlington 6; my “upset” pick of the Class AA. Next up: The winner will play No. 16 Clarkstown North/Clarkstown South Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 16 Rye at No. 1 Brewster, 4:30 p.m.: Congratulations to Rye for getting into the first round. Amanda Yannett and Sam Bluvol proved they can this hit and Katherine Brown is a good pitcher. But let’s face it here, this is Brewster. They are undefeated for a reason and I don’t see them getting their first loss here. Not with bats like Sammy Chiudina and a pitcher like Jenna Sacchetti. Prediction: Brewster 14, Rye 1. Next up: The winner will host the winner of No. 9 Tappan Zee/No. 8 Harrison Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 18 Somers at No. 2 Pearl River, 4:30 p.m.: Last year’s “Cinderella” made it out of the outbracket round again. I wish people would believe me when I say the Tuskers are a good team. Kristin Elliot is a real good hitter and Kathleen Olifers has real good speed and a good defender. But they are facing Pearl River, the reigning Class A champions. Yes, they lost a lot of key players BUT don’t discount what this team has accomplished. They never missed a beat led by Colleen McCoy, Jules Madigan and Kirsten McGarvey. They dealt with not having Emily Turilli pretty well and she’s got a pretty fresh arm as the Pirates begin their title defense. Prediction: Pearl River 9, Somers 3. Next up: The winner will play No. 10 Lourdes/No. 7 Nanuet Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 14 Sleepy Hollow at No. 3 John Jay, 4:30 p.m.: My apologies for doubting the Headless Horsemen in the out bracket game. Sarah McCarthy, Vanessa Onwe and the rest of the team have played well this year. The thing is this year has been a return to form for the Indians who have been this highly seeded in the tournament in I believe almost 10 years. Kayla Fisher, Kim Dohlan and the rest of the Indians have earned with way they’ve played this year. I don’t see them exiting this early in the tournament. Prediction: John Jay 10, Sleepy Hollow 2. Next up: The winner will face No. 11 Yorktown/No. 6 Eastchester Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 20 Beacon at No. 4 Lakeland, 4:30 p.m.: Behind the bats of Morgan Flamhotz and Taryn Maloney, the Bulldogs were able to edge out Panas in the outbracket round Wednesday. Sarah Poons kept the Panthers off balance the whole game. I have a lot of respect for the Bulldogs. It was only three years ago when Beacon faced Brewster for the Class A title so they know how to get the job done and at that time they were a pretty low seed. The Hornets have a lot of firepower at the plate and are a balanced lineup with no one batting below .300. Cameron Lischinsky, Amber Badillo and Alexandra Wright are three feared hitters. Colleen Walsh and Claire Pon are pretty good pitching combination. I see the Hornets getting out of the first round. Prediction: Lakeland 7, Beacon 3. Next up: The winner will face No. 12 Yonkers/No. 5 Hen Hud Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 12 Yonkers at No. 5 Hen Hud, 4:30 p.m.: Yonkers have played well this year. Zarimar Vasquez has been good for the Bulldogs but they are facing an experienced, complete team in the Sailors. Gabby Caruso, Alyssa Bleakley and Amy Glashoff will take over this game. Prediction: Hen Hud 12, Yonkers 2. Next up: The winner will face No. 20 Beacon/No. 4 Lakeland Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 11 Yorktown at No. 6 Eastchester, 4:30 p.m.: This one is a hard game to predict. Yorktown is a good team with a good hitter like Morgan Cole. The thing about Eastchester is that they’ve had flashes of brilliance but then lose to Rye. Ugh, this is so hard… If this was any other year, this would be Eastchester’s game hands down, I just think Yorktown’s going to squeak this out. But with the Eagles having played A LOT OF close games this year, I can see this going Eastchester’s way; but I just think Yorktown might squeak this out. Prediction: Yorktown 3, Eastchester 2. Next up: The winner will play No. 14 Sleepy Hollow/No. 3 John Jay Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 10 Lourdes at No. 7 Nanuet, 4:30 p.m.: This 7/10 matchup is pretty intriguing to me. Lourdes is a good team. They really are. Chloe Weekes is a really good hitter. But the thing about Nanuet is they are playing at home and this team is real good. Courtney Carbone and Alana Vezza are good hitters. Oriana Castello has been good in the circle for the Golden Knights. Prediction: Nanuet 6, Lourdes 5. Next up: The winner will play No. 18 Somers/No. Pearl River Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 9 Tappan Zee at No. 8 Harrison, 4:30 p.m.: Out of all the games in this tournament, this fascinates me the most. For as long as I’ve watched high school softball, this matchup has always been good. Both Gene Kousoulas and Dean Marino are fantastic coaches so both teams will be really prepared. Nicole Spiegelberg has been one of the driving forces for the Dutchies. Kaitlyn Borruso has been real good for TZ. The thing is though Christina DeCarlo, Taylor Day, Dominique LoGuidice all have been real good for the Huskies. And this game I give Harrison the edge because of the pitching. Now if this was even a year ago, not even a discussion who gets the pitching year. Prediction: Harrison 6, Tappan Zee 4. Next up: The winner will face No. 16 Rye/No. 1 Brewster Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 16 Hastings at No. 1 Valhalla, 4:30 p.m.: Good for Hastings to get into the tournament and Lauren DeSouza can distance herself as the school’s hits leader but Valhalla’s got way too much depth and strength to lose this game. Prediction: Valhalla 14, Hastings 1. Next up: The winner will face No. 9 Putnam Valley/No. 8 Yonkers Montessori Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 15 Irvington at No. 2 Rye Neck, 4:30 p.m.: I don’t see anyway Rye Neck loses this game. Diana King is such a dominant force in the circle and with her bat. She’s also got the support of Sam Yanuzzi not just offensively but as her catcher. Prediction: Rye Neck 13, Irvington 0. Next up: The winner will face the winner of No. 10 Pleasantville/No. 7 Dobbs Ferry.
No. 14 Edgemont at No. 3 North Salem, 4:30 p.m.: This has been a real good year for North Salem. Anastasia Pennachio has been really good with her bat and with her arm. Kayla Harris and Olivia Kaiser have both had good years with the bat and I don’t see them bowing out of the tournament this early. Prediction: North Salem 9, Edgemont 1. Next up: The winner will face No. 11 Albertus Magnus/No. 6 Westlake Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 13 Briarcliff at No. 4 Pawling, 4:30 p.m.: Pawling is a little bit of an enigma to me with there not being a lot of information out there but this team who’s been state ranked for most of the year won’t lose this early. Prediction: Pawling 15, Briarcliff 1. Next up: The winner will face No. 12 Blind Brook/No. 5 Ardsley Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 12 Blind Brook at No. 5 Ardsley, 4:30 p.m.: This will be a hands down win for Ardsley. Was very surprised at being the five seed here. Raina Gorman, Megan Canfield and the rest of the Panthers will advance as this squad is on a mission. Prediction: Ardsley 15, Blind Brook 0, 5. Next up: The winner will face No. 13 Briarcliff/No. 4 Pawling Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 11 Albertus Magnus at No. 6 Westlake, 5:15 p.m.: The Falcons have been a good program for a lot of years and I have a lot of respect for the program. I do think though Westlake’s the better team in this game led by Brianna Mancuso. Prediction: Westlake 9, Albertus Magnus 4. Next up: The winner will face No. 14 Edgemont/No. 3 North Salem Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 10 Pleasantville at No. 7 Dobbs Ferry, 4:15 p.m.: Under first year coach Kim Reznick, the Eagles have done real well. Alison Abbatiello is still a force to be reckoned with at the plate. And she’s got a lot of support around her. Sam Sicignano has been solid for the Panthers. Zacchio’s right, the 7/10 match ups are fun to watch. Prediction: Dobbs Ferry 7, Pleasantville 6. Next up: The winner will face No. 15 Irvington/No. 2 Rye Neck Saturday in the quarterfinals.
No. 9 Putnam Valley at No. 8 Yonkers Montessori, 4:30 p.m.: The funny thing is that even more fun to watch then 7/10 matches are the 8-9 ones because they seem to be the most evenly matched. This one’s no different. Brianna Murphy has been good this year swinging the stick as well as Julianna Sebben. My problem with YMA is I’m not sold on their pitching. Rachel Stockinger has been on varsity a long time and she’s good, real good. Good pitching shuts down good hitting any day of the week so I think this game will be a grind and low scoring. Prediction: Putnam Valley 2, Yonkers Montessori 1. Next up: The winner will face No. 16. Hastings/No. 1 Valhalla Saturday in the quarterfinals.