Bishop Ahr girls anxious to defend division title

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

EDISON — The Bishop Ahr High School girls softball team was ready to start the 2004 season and defend its Greater Middlesex Conference White Division title when action got under way yesterday at Monroe High School.

The Trojans’ home opener is 3:45 p.m. today when they host Sayreville, and they will finish a busy week at Montgomery on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Last year’s team finished the season 15-9, and was led by seniors Meghan Bobal and Katie Prindaville. Bobal was an all-White Division first baseman and Prindaville was selected to the all-White Division team as a shortstop. Obviously, they leave big shoes to fill, but Bishop Ahr head coach Stan Domin is confident the team will be a contender for the division title once again.

Getting the starting nod at first this season is newcomer Vicky Lijoi. The left-handed freshman is expected to bat second in the lineup and be a key contributor this season.

"Vicky impressed me with the glove right away," Domin said. "She is a line-drive hitter, and every day she gets better and better. She fills in for the loss of Bobal nicely."

Taking over the shortstop position is senior Kristen Carroll. Carroll saw time last season at third and in the outfield, and this year marks her first as a starter.

"Kristen has good range and a strong arm," Domin said. "She has a great attitude, and I expect her to have a good year for us."

An obvious strength of the team at the opening stages of the season is its pitching staff. With last year’s No. 1 pitcher returning to fill the No. 2 slot and a newcomer filling the top spot, opposing teams may have problems scoring runs.

Senior Jenn Corridon will pitch in the No. 2 position and see action in the outfield. A talented, all-around player, Corridon will bat in the leadoff position for the second straight year. She batted over .300 last season.

"Jenn has a good fastball, an excellent change and a nice curve," Domin said. "She relies on location and she is good at keeping the ball down, and she gives up few walks."

Earning the top spot in the rotation is freshman Ashley Brewer. Brewer’s style is comparable to former Bishop Ahr standout and all-state pitcher Jill Kelman.

"Ashley has great potential and a nice fastball," Domin said. "She has excellent command and she has a solid repertoire pitches."

Senior catcher Stephanie Benker will round out the battery, and provide solid defense and intelligent pitch calling. Her experience should work well with the young Brewer.

Providing the offensive spark for the Trojans is senior right fielder Colleen Cyriax. Cyriax was another all-White Division member and an all-conference selection. The four-year starter brings excellent defense and is slotted to bat third in the lineup.

"Colleen has line-drive power and she hits the gaps," Domin said. "She batted over .300 a year ago and she is our top player coming back."

Also providing experience are three-year starters Krystal Mitchell and Danielle Catanzaro.

"Krystal is our best defensive player this year," Domin said. "I expect her to make a lot of plays at second base. Danielle is a steady center fielder with an accurate arm. She’s a solid line-drive hitter and a smart base runner."

Sophomore Jessie B’Agostino is slated to bat fifth and take up residence at third. Last year’s designated hitter, B’Agostino is a steady power hitter and her hard work in the off-season earned her a spot in the infield. She will be needed to produce runs in order for the Trojans to defend their title.

"Hitting will decide if we can compete for a championship," Domin said. "Our first goal is always to win a division title. We have been able to win six titles in the last eight years but the schedule is tough this year. Pitching and defense is our strength but it will ultimately come down to timely hitting."