by Tom Utescher

Eighth-grade pitcher Maddie Saltzman winds up for Springside Chestnut Hill during the Lions’ first scrimmage of the 2012 season. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Three players graduated from the 2011 Springside Chestnut Hill Academy softball team, but a glance at last year’s roster revealed that the Lions could still expect to have an experienced group of six seniors and three juniors out on the diamond this spring.

Wrong! Three of the current 12th graders developed an advanced case of senioritis, and two juniors also dropped off the team. With junior pitcher Michelle Cybularz temporarily sidelined for medical reasons, SCH is starting out the season as a very young ballclub.

Fortunately, the three seniors remaining in the line-up have a wealth of experience. Shortstop Alexis Giovinazzo (who will play for Muhlenburg College) and first baseman Resnya Hughes both began to play varsity ball in the eighth grade, and catcher Aly Markey followed a year later.

Markey, who will continue her career at Albright College, is at the opposite end of the age spectrum from her current battery-mate. Eighth-grader Maddie Saltzman will be the Lions’ primary pitcher until the return of Cybularz, who is the only junior on the roster this year. Saltzman has a classmate to keep her company among the older girls, since outfielder Ashley Lubisky is also being elevated for varsity duty.

Sophomore Jenna Moriarty is an infielder who already started for the Lions last season, and her fellow 10th-graders are infielder Anna Kuo and outfielders Alex Middleberg and Madi Sehn. Sehn is a Norwood Fontbonne Academy graduate who will miss a few weeks of the season due to an ankle injury.

Moriarty’s sister, Julia, is one of four freshman on the roster, as is Brigit McDermott, who started at second base last week in the team’s first scrimmage. The other ninth-graders are outfielders Emily Chicchi and Kathleen Foley.

The Lions’ longstanding skippers, head coach Stephanie Mill and assistant Chuck Matthews, are piloting the team on a southern training trip this week. SCH is playing three games in Charlotte, NC, and on the way back north they’ll stop in Washington, D.C. to take on Georgetown Visitation.

In 2011 the Lions came away with a record of 8-4 in the Girls Inter-Ac League and 12-7 overall, finishing up in the second round of the Pa. Independent Schools Championships.

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