With a core of talented returning starters back in its lineup this season, the Park View High girls’ softball team is likely to contend for the Dulles District crown.
A year ago, the Patriots finished second in the regular season district standings behind champion Broad Run. For the season, Park View was 15-7 overall and 12-2 in district play. At the district tournament, the Patriots were beaten by Loudoun County in a semifinals game, and thus did not qualify for the Region II playoffs.
Park View would love to take that next step this season in being one of the district’s two teams to qualify for regionals.
"We believe we’ll be playing in some pressure games at the end of the year," said third year Park View coach Ed Abner, confident his team will experience some good moments this spring.
Park View has eight returning lettermen on its roster, including four players who earned All-Dulles District accolades last year.
On the mound this season will be senior pitcher Laura Heironimus, who was the team’s second string pitcher in 2007. She did see some mound action, however, accumulating a 4-1 record with a 1.00 ERA.
"She’s a very smart pitcher and has good stuff," said Abner. "She has a lot of movement on the ball and better than average speed."
Heironimus’ battery-mate behind the plate will be catcher Samantha Louk, an all-district outfielder last year who will be making the transition to the backstop position.
"She and Laura have played together a few years," said Abner, who believes the duo will work together just fine.
At the plate, Louk is coming off of an ’07 season in which she hit .440 with a home run.
ONE OF PARK VIEW’S top position players will be center fielder Emily Garcia, one of the top hitters in the district who earned all-region honors last year.
Over the past two seasons, Garcia, who will hit either leadoff or in the No. 3 spot in the batting order, has averaged .440 at the plate and led the Patriots in most offensive categories.
"She has power, but she also gets on base a lot," said Abner, of Garcia.
One of the team’s most versatile players is senior Elicia Price, a three-time letter earner who can play in either the outfield or infield at a high caliber. Abner said Price will likely start at either shortstop or in right field.
"She’s a key player," said Abner. "She gets on base and scores a lot. She’s quick and athletic and makes good [bat] contact. She can hit the ball in the gap."
Underclassman Brittany Griffin returns to third base after starting at the hot corner position as a freshman. A volleyball player during the winter, the athletic Griffin has good power potential at the plate.
Another sophomore, first baseman Rebecca Patton, is coming off of a stellar freshmen season.
Other key contributors on this year’s team will likely be sophomore Sam Gleason, who saw action at both second and third base last year while hitting .330, and junior Kristin Oravetz, the team’s backup second bagger in ’07.
Two freshmen who are expected to make an impact this spring are Robin Heironimus, the younger sister of Laura who will play shortstop and be the team’s backup pitcher, and Ally Rupard, who has been impressive in the preseason.
Rupard is an all-around solid player who can play numerous positions, including catcher.
The younger Heironimus sister brings a lot to the Park View lineup.
"She’s got power and good speed, is committed to the game and has phenomenal athletic ability," said Abner, of Robin’s stellar game.
Two other players to keep an eye on this season are sophomore third baseman/outfielder Miranda Kinney, who has good hitting power and an outstanding attitude, and junior outfielder Alyssa Winters, a JV player a year ago with exceptional speed.
Coach Abner likes the chances of his team this season.
"I think we’re going to be very solid," he said. "We’re going to be young, very aggressive with the bat and solid on defense."
Park View does not open up the season until March 28 when it takes on Loudoun County.