By Mike Wertman
Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — Anchored by a good nucleus of seven returnees, four-time defending champion Albion is prepping to begin defense of its Niagara-Orleans League softball title.
That veteran contingent includes seniors Sarah Papponetti (infield), Halle Jurs (infield), Tanisha Moyer (outfield), Erika Edwards (outfield), Ali O’Hearn (outfeld), Jessica Grimes (outfield) and freshman Kelsee Soule (catcher/pitcher).
Papponetti and Jurs, who anchored the left side of the Albion infield last year, both earned first team All-League honors. Moyer and Soule were both second team All-League honorees and Edward an honorable mention pick.
“We’ve got some good players. They are good kids, good students and good leaders,” said coach Gary Parisi. “We’re the defending champions but this is a new year so this group has to create their own chemistry and their own destiny.”
The big hole to fill will be at the key pitching position where Jenn Knaak, a four year varsity starter and two year starting pitcher graduated. Knaak was a two time first team N-O All-League selection and a two-time All-Western New York squad honoree.
Soule and freshman Meghan Hurley, who is up from the JV ranks, are working to take over at that key spot.
“Between Kelsee and Meghan we’ll be ok either way,” said Parisi.
The Purple Eagles roster also includes junior Shannan Wells (infield), sophomores Kelli O’Hearn (infield) and Kelsey Schmitt (infield) along with freshmen Ashlee Bocach (catcher) and Olivia Prest (outfield/catcher).
“The key will be how quick our young kids feel comfortable playing at this higher level of competition,” said Parisi. “We definitely have the potential and the ability.”
The Purple Eagles are slated to visit Lew-Port on April 3 and host Lockport on April 5 before opening defense of their N-O title at home against Akron on April 8.
Albion posted a 12-2 record last spring to claim a fourth straight N-O title. The Purple Eagles, who had a 19-5 overall record, went on to also capture the school’s first sectional softball championship winning the A-2 title.Albion Purple Eagles COACH: Gary Parisi LAST YEAR: 12-2, 19-5 KEY LOSSES: Jenn Knaak (pitcher), Tia Prentice (2nd base) KEY RETURNEES: Sarah Papponetti (Sr., infield), Kelsee Soule (Fr., catcher/pitcher), Ali O'Hearn (Sr., outfield), Erika Edwards (Sr., outfield), Halle Jurs (Sr., infield/catcher), Tanisha Moyer (Sr., outfield), Jessica Grimes (Sr., outfield)