Experience in middle of field strengthens Brentwood softball squad
Sunday, April 4, 2021 | 11:01 AM
Despite the cancellation of the 2020 softball season because of covid-19 restrictions, Brentwood still has four returning starters back.
The Spartans appear to be strong up the middle with juniors Bailey Herrea (P/SS), Kellie Bruschi (SS/P) and senior Sidney Wuenschell (CF) back, along with a fourth returning starter in junior Alyssa Steele (2B/RF).
“We’re looking forward to getting back on the field this season. Our team always aspires to earn a postseason berth,” said Jennifer Ditoro, Brentwood’s veteran coach. “We will be focusing on rebuilding after the exit of several seniors a year ago. We had a successful scrimmage (recently) against Avella.
“If anything, the girls are more eager to play than ever. Losing the entire season last year was heartbreaking but definitely enlightened the team that every day, every pitch, they need to leave it all on the field because truly any game could be their last.”
Wuenschell is a three-year letter winner in softball and volleyball. She plans to attend Slippery Rock after graduation and major in childhood education.
“This group of girls is probably the best group I’ve been around for a while. Our last season was the greatest,” Wuenschell said. “Normally there’s drama and everything, but we all genuinely like each other.”
Other Brentwood players looking to contribute this season include seniors Paige Miller (3B/1B), Alyssa Budd (LF/RF) and Rachel Salinas-Garcia (OF) and juniors Olivia Kraueter (OF), Reghan Woods (OF) and Mackenzkie Castiglione (C/SS/OF).
Miller, like Wuenschell, is a two-sport standout. She was a two-year starter at the forward position on the girls basketball team, and is in her fourth season as a member of the softball program.
“It is different now that we have to wear our mask,” Miller said. “We can take them off when we go out the field, but we have to put them back on when we get in the dugout.
“I just want to have a great senior year with my team no matter if we win or lose.”
Miller has a 3.6 GPA and plans to attend Columbus State Community College for two years to take basic classes before transferring to another college to study marine biology.
Sophomores vying for playing time for the Spartans this spring include Katie Conway (LF/RF), Brianna Folino (2B), Rylee Sell (OF) and Ellie Tinker (OF). Two top freshman are Mia March (1B) and Gemma Stypula (3B/C).
“It’s certainly a rebuilding year,” Ditoro said, “but I’m hopeful we can jell as a team and begin to play a more sophisticated style of ball as the season progresses.”
Brentwood started out impressively, routing nonsection opponent Northgate, 15-0, in its season opener March 26.
The Spartans remain in Class 2A this season but have moved into Section 2, along with Apollo-Ridge, Jeannette, Ligonier Valley, Serra Catholic, Seton LaSalle and Steel Valley.
“We’ve been put in new section,” Wuenschell said, “so I’m really just aiming for our team to win a decent amount of games.”
Two years ago, Brentwood finished 2-10 in Section 1-2A and 3-11 overall. The Spartans advanced to the WPIAL playoffs in 2017 and 2018.
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