Softball | Season preview

Coulter happy to be back pitching

 

After skipping a year and getting injured the next year, Cooper City pitcher Kelly Coulter has returned better than ever.

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KEY DATES

MondayRegular season began

April 15-19Districts

April 23-24Regional quarterfinals

April 26Regional semifinals

April 30 Regional finals

May 8-11 State finals at Vero Beach Sports Village

2012 STATE CHAMPS

Class 8A: Durant; 7A: Chamberlain; 6A: Pembroke Pines Charter; 5A: American Heritage; 4A: Gulliver Prep; 3A: American Heritage School of Boca/Delray; 2A: Grandview Prep; 1A: Lafayette.

PAST BROWARD CHAMPS

American Heritage 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2012

Pembroke Pines Charter 2012

Cooper City 2009

Hollywood Christian 1995, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2004

St. Thomas Aquinas 2002, 2003

Chaminade-Madonna 1999

Westminster Academy 1999

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS

P Katie Kalasunas, Western, Sr.

P Courtney Methven, Cypress Bay, Sr.

P Meghan King, St. Thomas Aquinas, Jr.

C Shelby Gilreath, Calvary Christian, Sr.

C Gabi Martinez, University, Sr.

C Bethany Williams, Cooper City, Jr.

INF Victoria Gonzalez, Pembroke Pines Charter, Sr.

INF Shannon Allen, Cooper City, Sr.

INF Megan Obier, West Broward, So.

2B Dakota Villella, American Heritage, Sr.

SS Ashley Belans, American Heritage, Sr.

3B Gianna Arrizurieta, American Heritage, Jr.

OF Shea Melton, American Heritage, Sr.

OF Kaitlyn Woodruff, Archbishop McCarthy, Sr.

OF/SS Lexi DiEmmanuele, Cypress Bay, So.

UTL Gwen Svekis, St. Thomas Aquinas, Jr.

UTL Nicole White, Cardinal Gibbons, Sr.

OTHERS TO WATCH

1B Hailey Leonard, Douglas, Sr.; OF/P Sarah Maloney, Cypress Bay, Jr.; P Sami Feller, Douglas, Fr.; P Samantha Herrmann, Nova, Sr.; SS Kayla Tuarez, Nova, Sr.; OF Stephanie Laica, West Broward, Sr.; OF Fallon McLaughlin, Cooper City, Sr.; OF/2B Sam Sharkey, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; 1B Amanda Furar, Western, Jr.; C/1B Lindsey Olivares, Cooper City, So.; 3B Shannon Legacki, Cooper City, So.; INF Maddie Gott, Cypress Bay, Jr.; INF Shannon Hogan, Cardinal Gibbons, So.; C Casey Cruzpino, Pine Crest, Jr.; C Sarah Angulo, American Heritage, Sr.; C/1B Lauren Newmark, American Heritage, Jr.; P Georgie Lopez, Pine Crest, Sr.; INF Erica Pavlo, Cardinal Gibbons, Jr.; C Stephanie Chaiser, Archbishop McCarthy, Sr.; INF Alex Pagliaro, Westminster Academy, Jr.; 3B Yani Rodriguez, McArthur, Jr.; P Kaycee Mansfield, McArthur, So.; 2B/CF Cristal Concepcion, Nova, Jr.; 2B/CF Kristen Carsello, Nova, Jr.; SS Rachel Collins, St. Thomas Aquinas, So.; 1B Samantha Strum, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; SS Casey Fries, South Broward, So.; C Jackie Gonzalez, West Broward, Sr.

CLASS OUTLOOKS

CLASS 8A

1. Cypress Bay (Coach Lonny Shapiro, 11th year, 132-76). Last year: 17-9 (Regional Finalist). Top players: OF/SS Lexi DiEmmanuele, So.; P/OF Sarah Maloney, Jr.; P Courtney Methven, Sr.; INF Maddie Gott, Jr.; C Olivia Gott, So.; SS Lily Pruneda, Jr.

2. West Broward (Coach Greg Hodges, 2nd year, 16-5). Last year: 16-5 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: SS/2B Megan Obier, So.; C Jackie Gonzalez, Sr.; OF Stephanie Laica, Sr.; OF/P Emily Obier, Sr.; 3B/2B Elise Calzadilla, Jr.

3. Douglas (Coach Brian Staubly, 3rd year at Douglas, 8th overall, 97-42). Last year: 15-7 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: OF/3B Caitlin Nowlan, Sr.; 1B Hailey Leonard, Sr.; SS Jessica England, So.; C Madison Sack, So.; P Sami Feller, Fr.

4. Taravella (Coach Doug Huffman, 4th year, 55-13). Last year: 19-4 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top Players: SS Marina Delfino, Jr.; C Ashley Friedman, Sr.; CF Miranda Maddox, Sr.; P Meagan Markusfeld, So.; 3B Bailey Homa, So.

5. Western (Coach Mike Marcus, 2nd year). Last year: 17-3. Top players: P Katie Kalasunas, Sr.; SS Samantha Vance, Jr.; 1B Amanda Furar, Jr.; OF Jessica Langston, Jr.; C Allie Lawdan, So.

6. South Plantation (Coach Robyn Handler, 9th year at SP, 19th overall, 404-165). Last year: 13-7. Top players: INF/P Jessica Trana, So.; SS Mckenna Delaware, So.; OF Morgan Koehler, Sr.; P Sabrina Ryan, So.; C Katelynn Bresler, So.

7. Flanagan (Coach Dominique Accetturo, 1st year at FLA). Last year: N/A. Top players: CF Deja Bush, So.; P Jessica Degan, Sr.; SS Bermari Figueroa, Jr.; P Brooke Degan, So.; INF Catlyn Lupton, Sr.

CLASS 7A

1. Cooper City (Coach Phil Schmalz, 5th at CC, 6th overall, 83-40). Last year: 17-9 (State semifinalist). Top players: C Bethany Williams, Jr.; 2B/3B Shannon Allen, Sr.; OF/3B Fallon McLaughlin, Sr.; C/1B Lindsey Olivares, So.; 3B Shannon Legacki, So.

2. St. Thomas Aquinas (Coach Bryan Baucom, 19th year, 419-81). Last year: 18-6 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: C Gwen Svekis, Jr.; 2B/OF Sam Sharkey, Sr.; 1B Samantha Strum, Sr.; SS Rachel Collins, So.; P Meghan King, Jr.

3. Monarch (Coach Tom Popovics, 4th year at MON, 7th overall). Last year: 17-10 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: SS Madison Mihok, Jr.; 3B Stefany Collins, So.; P Jordan Williams, Sr.; OF Kayla Wilson, Sr.; OF Sydney Robinson, Sr.

4. Nova (Coach Tatiana Fernandez, 1st year). Last year: 12-6. Top players: SS Kayla Tuarez, Sr.; P Samantha Herrmann, Sr.; C Samantha Lisowski, Jr.; 2B/CF Cristal Concepcion, Jr.; 2B/CF Kristen Carsello, Jr.

5. Northeast (Coach Lecorey Beavers, 4th year). Last year: 9-10 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: CF Brittany Suhotanus, Sr.; 1B Shelby Berns, Jr.; CF Jamila Watson, Jr.; C Katie Ahull, Jr.; RF Luz Toribio, Sr.

6. McArthur (Coach Frank Girardi, 6th year at MA, 10th overall, 57-36). Last year: 10-12. Top players: 3B Yani Rodriguez, Jr.; SS Aida Rodriguez, Fr.; C Alexis Talley, Fr.; P Kaycee Mansfield, So.; SS/OF Kiara Feliciano, So.

7. South Broward (Coach Mick Braeseke, 2nd year). Last year: 9-12. Top players: SS Casey Fries, So.; CF Hailey Fitzpatrick, Jr.; 2B Amber Bird, Jr.; OF Elizabeth DeFelice, So.; 3B Samantha Weichhan, Jr.

CLASS 6A

1. Pembroke Pines Charter (Coach Tom Fadul, 14th year, 260-63-2). Last year: 22-4 (State champion). Top players: INF Victoria Gonzalez, Sr.; OF Annette Rotunno, So.; OF Bridget Blount, Jr.; C Jamie Gonzalez, Jr.; INF Courtney Dart, Jr.

2. Archbishop McCarthy (Coach La’Quinta O. Ellis). Last year: Regional semifinalist. Top players: C Stephanie Chaiser, Sr.; SS Kaitlyn Woodruff, Sr.; C Kaitlyn Ortagus, Sr.; 3B Samantha Dominguez, Jr.

CLASS 5A

1. American Heritage (Coach Marty Cooper, 9th year at AH, 19th overall). Last year: 27-5 (State champion). Top players: 2B Dakota Villella, Sr.; SS Ashley Belans, Sr.; 3B Gianna Arrizurieta, Jr.; OF Shea Melton, Sr.; C Sarah Angulo, Sr.; C/1B Lauren Newmark, Jr.

2. Pompano Beach (Coach Sheri Wilder, 2nd year). Last year: 16-6 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: 2B Noelle McGuire, Jr.; SS Gina Daigle, Sr.; C Erin Sundook, Jr.; 3B Marissa Lamberti, Jr.

CLASS 4A

1. University School (Coach Bryan Ortagus, 1st year). Last year: 18-4 (Regional finalist). Top players: C Gabi Martinez, Sr.; 1B Meredith Adams, Sr.; P Linette Suares, So.; 3B Jenna Chibaughy, So.; SS Chanel Hall, So.

2. Cardinal Gibbons (Coach Neil Brody, 2nd year at CG, 15th overall). Last year: 11-9. Top players: P/INF Nicole White, Sr.; INF Erica Pavlo, Jr.; INF/P Brooke Archacki, So.; INF Shannon Hogan, So.; OF Fran Munoz, Sr.

3. Coral Springs Charter (Coach Mark Montimurro, 1st year ay CSC, 15th overall, 309-89). Last year: 16-10 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: C Gianna Wyatt, Jr.; INF Angie Gutierrez, So.; P/INF Paige Fairchild, So.; SS Kayla Scaperrotta, Fr.; P/INF Skylar Fairchild, Fr.

4. Pine Crest (Coach Mike Thompson, 5th year at PC, 8th overall, 66-52). Last year: 8-13. Top players: C Casey Cruzpino, Jr.; P Georgie Lopez, Sr.; INF Rebecca Brody, Sr.; UTL Taylor Estape, So.; INF Erin Hesch, Jr.

5. Chaminade-Madonna (Coach Glenn Ikalina, 58-17). Last year: 5-15. Top players: INF/OF Alexa Yero, Sr.; C Danielle MacMurdo, So.; 1B Francesca Rieth, Sr., OF Mikaela Sherrin, Jr.; INF/OF Dayna Shull, Jr.

CLASS 3A

1. Calvary Christian (Coach Lee Gilreath, 2nd year, 3rd overall, 32-21). Last year: 13-13 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: C Shelby Gilreath, Sr.; 3B Tina Deibel, Fr.; 2B Mia Veliz, 7th; CF Sarah Nance, Sr.

2. Westminster Academy (Coach Casey Jarvis, 4th year, 24-24). Last year: 11-7 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: INF Alex Pagliaro, Jr.; OF Brooke Zolnowski, Sr.; C/INF Brantley Taylor, So.; INF Chelsea Brown, 6th; P/INF Jensen Strandberg, Jr.

CLASS 2A

1. Sheridan Hills Christian (Coach Chad Martin, 2nd year). Last year: 13-3, state semifinalist. Top players: C Grasy Gomez, 8th; P Kim Detullio, 8th.

2. Zion Lutheran Christian. Last year: Regional semifinalist.


Special to The Miami Herald

Cooper City senior pitcher Kelly Coulter gave up softball, the sport she grew to love, the summer after her freshman year.

Coulter thought it took too much of her time and was affecting her schoolwork when she had practice or had a game every day. When she didn’t get home until 8 p.m., Coulter felt like taking a shower and heading to bed. She missed having a “social life with my friends.”

As a freshman, Coulter had pitched half of the Cowboys’ games, her velocity averaging 59 to 61 mph. She pitched 36 innings, allowed 34 hits and struck out 49 batters. She finished with a 5-2 record and a 3.31 ERA.

“She had all the potential in the world, but for whatever reason she wasn’t enjoying herself,” Cooper City coach Phil Schmalz said. “I don’t know if she felt too much pressure. The interest there was lost.”

More than a year passed when Chase Redington transferred to American Heritage halfway through Cooper City’s 2012 season. The Cowboys needed an extra arm for backups Amanda Pelaez and Jessica Simonpietri, who both played other positions.

That created an easy decision for Coulter, who had begun to miss the sport and her teammates. Though it initially took time for Coulter to regain her accuracy, pitches, footwork and muscle mass, she made her debut at the Kissimee Klassic in early April.

“It felt good,” said Coulter, who pitched in a pair of games over that weekend. “Being a pitcher, you’re in control and play a major part of the game, so I was kind of nervous at the same time. I didn’t know if I practiced enough or prepared for it. It was nerve-racking.”

But when she returned home with an injury and played a couple days later, Coulter sustained a setback. The next morning she woke up for school and couldn’t walk. The doctor told her she had broken her heel. As Simonpietri led the team to the state semifinal, Coulter stayed behind in a boot.

Since then, Coulter has focused on her recovery. The velocity on her pitches has returned. Schmalz calls her a “smarter” pitcher because she’s a couple of years older.

“She’s still doing awesome and as the season progresses I’m 99 percent sure she’s going to be the best she’s ever been,” said senior infielder Shannon Allen, who was the other freshman on varsity Coulter’s first year. “It’s cool because we’ve been together since Day 1.”

In a preseason outing against Miami Varela last week, she pitched two scoreless innings, utilizing her changeup and slowly building her confidence.

“I’m geeked,” Schmalz said. “I’m pretty charged up that she could be a real surprise for us and a sleeper as one of the better pitchers around when nobody really even knows about her.”

Coulter’s main goal — aside from taking the team back to the state tournament her senior year — is to serve as a role model for the younger girls.

“I definitely would have stayed with it,” Coulter said. “Seeing how I missed it and everything, it wasn’t worth taking the two years off and having to redo everything and learn again. I would have rather stayed with it and pulled through it. It would’ve been worth it.”

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