The Bronx and Manhattan are still trying to shake their stereotype of being a weak softball borough.
Preston had its best season ever, going undefeated in league play and advancing to the CHSAA Archdiocesan semifinals where it fell to Moore Catholic. The Panthers have always struggled with getting by the good Staten Island teams in the playoffs.
Manhattan Center made its presence felt early with a non-league win against Curtis, but the Rams lost three of their best hitters to grades and were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by New Dorp. Bronx Science won its first division title, but also drew a Staten Island team in the first round – Curtis – and was eliminated. Adlai Stevenson and Clinton were the lone Bronx or Manhattan teams to make it out of the PSAL Class A first round.
Of The Year
P Devyn Abbate, Preston
The Preston windmiller was as dominant as they come this season. Abbate used her pinpoint control and wicked off-speed pitch to help lead the Panthers to an undefeated CHSAA Bronx/Westchester title. After games, coach Rachel Mazza would say that wherever she called a pitch, that’s exactly where Abbate put it. The senior’s finest moment, though, came in the Archdiocesan quarterfinals. Abbate struggled to breathe because of an upper respiratory infection and struggled with her command early. She fought her way through and shut out St. Joseph Hill, striking out eight and walking none.
Of The Year
Thomas Morris, Bronx Science
There were a handful of deserving candidates for this honor – from Riverdale/Kingsbridge’s Bob Finz to Preston’s Rachel Mazza to Adlai Stevenson’s Rick Ouimet. But Morris led the Wolverines to a 14-2 record in PSAL Bronx A, beating Stevenson and RKA twice en route to the program’s first division title. And they did all of that without a true windmill pitcher.
All-Bronx/Manhattan First Team
3B Laura Montalto, Preston: There was certainly no sophomore slump for Montalto after a freshman campaign that earned her the nickname Monster. When she gets into a hitting groove, she is nearly impossible to get out and hard to keep in the ballpark. Her monster shots and hard hits earned her the nickname. Montalto is also an extremely sure fielder with a strong arm at the hot corner.
1B Sophia Ponce, Cardinal Spellman: The four-year varsity player certainly provided plenty of pop and polish in the middle of the Cardinals’ order. The team’s No. 3 hitter and first baseman has an excellent eye at the plate and was arguably Spellman’s most feared and consistent bat. She is one of the big reasons for the squad’s second-place finish in the CHSAA Bronx/Westchester division.
SS Nelyssa Rosario, Riverdale/Kingsbridge: There really isn’t much the junior wasn’t good at. Rosario is a five-tool type of player – she hits for average, power, has speed and is a great defender with a strong throwing arm. She was one of the biggest reasons why Riverdale/Kingsbridge finished 12-4 in Bronx A in its first season up from Class B. She hit .786, tallied an .803 on-base percentage and slugged 1.286 for the Tigers. All of those were division highs.
CF Danielle Sedia, Preston: Preston coach Rachel Mazza called the senior the best leadoff hitter the program has ever had. Sedia gave her plenty of reasons. It felt like she spent the season on base and was one of the team’s most consistent hitters, collected a slew of multiple hit games and clutch hits. Sedia brought plenty of speed and aggressiveness to the base paths and range and smarts to centerfield.
3B Stephanie Sfiroudis, Bronx Science: The Bronx needs to watch out. This freshman could very well be the FiveBoroSports.com All-Bronx/Manhattan Player of the Year before she graduates. Sfiroudis is an incredible hitter, with power to all fields. She hit .591 with a .654 on-base percentage and 1.205 slugging percentage in PSAL Bronx A this season. The Queens native was a smooth fielder at the hot corner and could also be Bronx Science’s windmill pitcher of the future. And that future is exceptionally bright.
1B Linoska Suarez, Adlai Stevenson: Early in the season, Stevenson coach Rick Ouimet described Suarez as his “stud hitter.” Nothing could have been truer. On a team that relies so heavily on small ball and moving runners over, Suarez, a senior, just mashes them home. She hit .574 with a .672 on-base percentage and a 1.106 slugging percentage in Bronx A.
P Herminia Thabet, Manhattan Center: What would Manhattan Center have done without Thabet? The left-hander put the Rams on her back when three of their best hitters – Jennifer Perez, Celia Soto and Idaysha Quinones – became academically ineligible in May. Thabet was 16-0 with a 0.77 ERA and struck out 125 batters in 100 innings. She was also one of the best hitters in Manhattan with a .522 average, a .600 on-base percentage and an .826 slugging.
SS Francis Trosa, Cardinal Spellman: Trosa is the type of shortstop that if a ball is hit near her you expect her to get to it and gobble it up. The senior never gave up on a ball, sometimes leading to spectacular plays behind freshman starter Tiffany Rondon. Trosa was versatile at the plate. She could hit for power, could place a ball just to get on base or could beat out a bunt for a hit.
1B Ashley Wiederhold, Preston: There may not have been as hot or as clutch a hitter for the Panthers especially toward the middle of the season. During a prolonged stretch it seemed like everything the senior hit was hard or driving in a run. Wiederhold played an excellent first base and was very good at charging on bunts.
C Jane Witkowski, Riverdale/Kingsbridge: If not for Witkowski breaking her ankle in the PSAL Class A first round against Lincoln, Riverdale/Kingsbridge might have won its first ‘A’ playoff game. The Tigers had an awesome season, finishing 12-4 in PSAL Bronx A in their first season up from Class B. Witkowski was a gigantic reason why. She has good footwork and a rocket for an arm. Witkowski hit .600 with a .692 on-base percentage and a 1.040 slugging.
P/2B Alexandra Albright, Stuyvesant
P Catie Barile, Horace Mann
RF Victoria Cannon, Bronx Science
SS Nicole Cavigliano, Preston
SS Mackenzie Charter, Bronx Science
C Alexandra Krawczuk, Bronx Science
C Kassandra Leidemer, Clinton
SS Tahani Maharaj, Adlai Stevenson
1B Nieves Mercado, George Washington
SS Kate Miller, Fieldston
SS Tayna Pena, Clinton
3B Victoria Quinones, Cardinal Spellman
OF/C Christine Roundtree, Manhattan Center
P Nathaly Sanson, Art & Design
P Yanilka Tejeda, Adlai Stevenson