Seniors Maddie Niebish (left) and Becca Arnold are the captains for the Blue Devils this spring. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Some talented young players will take on key roles this spring for the softball team at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, but it will be hard to make up for the loss of a group of very experienced athletes from the 2019 squad.

Clean-up hitter and centerfielder Colebe Oliver has graduated, and the Blue Devils also lost most of their infield. Shortstop Mo’ne Davis and second baseman Steph DeAngelis walked away with their diplomas, while first baseman Katie Reagan, a junior last year, transferred to Our Lady of Good Counsel when her family relocated to Maryland.

The senior captains for the 2020 Blue Devils are centerfielder Becca Arnold and shortstop Maddie Niebish. Both have decided to “go West” for college, Arnold to West Chester University, and Niebish to West Point. Niebish was recruited to the U.S. Military Academy to play soccer.

The Blue Devils return pitcher Sam Klug, who started for SCH as a freshman last year. Her classmate Marissa Wolf will be catching for her. Junior Trinity Smith will also see time in the circle; she and Klug will be stationed at first base when not pitching. The only other junior on the roster is Mikayla Brown, an outfielder who has come up from last year’s JV team.

A corps of seven freshmen is led by third baseman/outfielder Courtney Oliver (sister of Colebe), who played on the 2019 varsity as an eighth-grader. Fellow freshman Elena Franklin, Samaya Goodwin, and Kaliyani Wardlaw are candidates for the outfield, while Anna Mazzarelli could fill a slot in either the infield or outfield.

Freshman Chloe Smith has been working out at second base, and Emma Blaszczak, a new ninth-grader at the school, can play catcher or second base.

Stephanie Mill, a member of the SCH Physical Education department, is now in her 20th year as head coach of the Blue Devils’ program. Assistant coach Jack Parks in going into his eighth season, and a new addition to the staff is Bill Hannigan. His daughter, Julia, is a former player for the team, and Hannigan has coached softball travel teams as well as coaching for four years at John W. Hallahan High School.