by Tom Utescher

Penn Charter embarks on the 2012 softball season with most of last year’s line-up returning, beginning with the number one pitcher, junior Jess Drossner, and sophomore catcher Kristina Kubach.

The Quakers were the runner-up team in the Girls Inter-Ac League in 2011, logging a 9-3 record in league play and going 14-6 overall.

On graduation day last June, Charter lost reserve pitcher Kate Faigen and the anchors at the corners of the infield, first baseman Katie Brock and third baseman Mackenzie Kramer, both multi-year starters.

“The defense is still coming together,” said longtime Quakers coach Donald “Doc” Mittica. “When you move a returning starter to a different position, that opens up a hole somewhere else, so these early scrimmages and games can help us see where all the pieces fit.

“I think our hitting is going to be fine,” he continued. “Our returning players are solid batters, and our young pitcher, [freshman] Kayla Quinn, hits well. Also, with her pitching along with Jess, we’ve got some pretty good depth on the mound.”

In early scrimmages in March, Charter edged Merion Mercy Academy, 6-5, tied St. Basil’s in both games of a doubleheader, and got roughed up by the Ragdolls of Archbishop Ryan. Success came more easily in outings against Germantown Friends, Shipley School, and Harriton High. Last week the Quakers were missing three starters (including Drossner) in a sloppy 15-11 triumph in a scrimmage with Neumann-Goretti High School.

The other players absent for spring break were two projected starters in the outfield, senior Marissa Samuels and junior Carly Zurcher. Veteran senior Emily Kurtz started in centerfield, with fellow senior Emma Cataldi in left field and sophomore Julianne Casasanto in right. Back in their familiar spots at the interior infield positions were senior shortstop Danielle Sienko and junior second baseman Rachael Garnick.

Junior Molly Mornhinweg, who played out in left field last year, moved in to third base, and over at first was junior Nicole Weitz.

Sophomores Kelsey Hinshaw and Jenna Torres also appear on the roster, along with Quinn’s freshman classmate, Mikayla Cimino.

Sienko, who signed up to play softball at Kutztown University last November, is a team co-captain along with Kurtz (who will attend Penn) and Cataldi.

The assistants on Mittica’s coaching staff this spring are his son, Aaron, and KatieJo Wacker.

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