The St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes softball team faced quality competition during a recent tournament in Orlando, Fla., and is prepared for a return to ISL action, head coach Stephanie Koroma said.
The Saints are off to 1-6 start, but five of those losses came during the tournament, which included teams from Alabama, Illinois and Pennsylvania, among other states. SSSAS returns seven players with varsity experience, five of whom started at some point during the 2009 season.
"We definitely expect to be one of the stronger teams in our league," Koroma said. "One of our goals is working hard to get to the championship game."
Koroma said the team also has its sights set on making the state tournament, which the Saints last qualified for in 2008.
While SSSAS has several returning athletes, a newcomer leads the Saints. Freshman Alexis Sargent is the team’s No. 1 pitcher and will bat third or fourth during the season.
"She’s going to be one of the better pitchers in the league," Koroma said.
Sargent has a 2.63 ERA and 72 strikeouts through seven games. In the batter’s box, she’s hitting .471 with a .769 on base percentage.
Among the returning Saints are senior shortstop Sarah Mathiesen and sophomore first baseman Taylor Heasley. The left-handed-hitting Mathiesen bats leadoff for the Saints and was an all-league selection in 2009. Koroma described her as a strong bunter and one of the team’s best defensive players. Heasley, the Alexandria Sportsman’s Club softball athlete of the year in 2009, was the team’s top hitter.
Heasley is batting .417 with a .500 on base percentage, and Mathiesen is hitting at a .400 clip with a .517 on base percentage.
Other returning starters are: junior center fielder Eileen McNamara, junior outfielder Caroline Blair and sophomore third baseman Nancy Bateman, who moves to catcher this season.
Seniors Sarah Allen and Kelsey Reeder also saw time last season.
Juniors Ginny Kady and Lesley Klose, sophomores Emma Brown, Katie Groody and Emma Luparello and freshman Addison Delancey round out the Saints’ roster.
St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes travels to face Sidwell Friends at 4:15 p.m. April 1 and Bullis at 4:15 p.m. April 6. The Saints’ next home game is at 4:15 p.m. April 8 against Stone Ridge.