by Tom Utescher
In 2014, the Tigers achieved a first for their softball program by making a 10-0 run through the regular season in the Friends School League. The league tournament did not go quite as well for the team, who suffered a 4-3 loss in the semifinal round to the eventual champ, Friends Central.
Seeded sixth for the Pennsylvania Independent Schools tournament, GFS fell to Penn Charter, ending the season with an overall record of 11-3.
From that team, GFS graduated some 1long-established mainstays in catcher Rachel Allison and shortstop Maddie Andrews, along with Becca Bateman, a designated player and relief pitcher.
Current junior Lizzie Becker has been the Tigers’ primary pitcher since she was a freshman.
Unfortunately, the multi-sport standout began to suffer from tendinitis in her wrist as she switched from playing basketball to starting to prepare for the softball campaign. She is expected to return, but there is no exact timetable.
As a result, sophomore Lila Sternberg-Sher has moved up from last year’s JV team right into the varsity pitching circle. At this point, the Tigers’ back-up plan is to hope that Sternberg-Sher stays healthy.
“We’d have to dig a little deep to come up with a back-up,” admitted Steph Aurello, who is embarking on her second season as head coach. “Sophie pitches a little bit, and Taara pitched a couple years ago.”
The GFS skipper was referring to two members of her large senior class, Sophie Trotto and Taara Advani. Trotto, a returning starter, will moved across the infield from second base to shortstop to replace the departed Andrews. Another senior, Magda Andrews-Hoke, is stepping in behind the plate to fill the gap left by Allison.
Also representing the Class of 2015 are Lydia Harvey, Julia Mankoff, Hayley Rost, Liana Spiro, and Jaime Wiesner. Mankoff is a returning starter in the outfield. Wiesner, who’s headed to Wesleyan next year, was also playing out in the pasture during Germantown’s first scrimmage, along with sophomore Lilly Dupuis.
The Harvard-bound Spiro is back as Germantown’s starting first baseman, and Harvey has taken over Trotto’s old spot at second. Sophomore third baseman Hannah Hanson is also a returning starter.
Rounding out the roster are juniors Olivia Browne and Emily Fichandler, and sophomore Emma Lynam.
Looking over this year’s group, Aurello said, “We lost some real leaders from last year, but our bench was pretty deep, and this year we’ve got a couple of new girls who can fill positions and who are good utility players.”
GFS looked a bit rusty in a scrimmage with Northeast Philly’s Calvary Christian Academy last Thursday (the last day before PIAA schools can begin to play official games).
“It was actually our first time outside, and there were some mental errors and some physical errors,” said Aurello. “This was basically a chance to try and work out the kinks, see what we need to improve on, and find places to put everybody.”
The Tigers’ mentor is proud to be presiding over one of the smartest teams around; Advani, Andrews-Hoke and Spiro are all 2015 National Merit Scholar finalists.