Softball | Season Preview

Coral Reef softball team hungry for more


Coral Reef not complacent after winning first state championship.

Coral Reef’s softball team and coaches pose for a photo with the championship trophy after beating Cypress Bay in the 8A final at Vero Beach on May 12, 2013.
Coral Reef’s softball team and coaches pose for a photo with the championship trophy after beating Cypress Bay in the 8A final at Vero Beach on May 12, 2013.
Joe Rimkus Jr. / Staff photo

Season outlook


March 6-8: Speedball Classic; March 13-15: SlamFest tournament; April 3-5: Kissimmee Klassic; April 9: GMAC tournament; April 14-18: Districts; April 23-24: Regional quarterfinals; April 29: Regional semifinals; May 2: Regional finals; May 7-10: State tournament at Vero Beach Sports Village


Class 8A: Coral Reef; 7A: St. Thomas Aquinas; 6A: Lake City Columbia; 5A: Lake Wales; 4A: Gulliver; 3A: Delray American Heritage; 2A: St. Petersburg Canterbury; 1A: Bristol Liberty County.


P Jennifer Acevedo, Doral, Jr.

P Gabbee Draney, Gulliver, Sr.

P Amanda Guglietta, Palmetto, So.

P Kelli Kleiss, Westminster Christian, Sr.

P Michelle Mesa, Coral Reef, Jr.

P Geneva Santos, Miami Springs, Sr.

INF Kylan Becker, Coral Reef, Jr.

INF Caitlin Charlton, Westminster Christian, Sr.

INF Brianna Ernst, Florida Christian, Jr.

INF Cassandra Garcia, Coral Reef, Jr.

INF Crystal Garcia, Gulliver, Sr.

INF Carsyn Gordon, Coral Reef, Jr.

INF Brittany Husk, Westminster Christian, Sr.

INF Samantha Lageyre, Doral, Jr.

C Kaitlyn Musa, Westminster Christian, Sr.

C Tori Rios, Gulliver, Jr.

DH Angie Montalvo, Goleman, Sr.

OF Cristina Colli, Coral Reef, Jr.

OF Melody Grafals, Doral, Jr.

OF Megan Greenwell, Palmetto, Sr.

Top Teams

Class 8A

1. CORAL REEF (Coach Dario Rodriguez, 2nd year, 28-2). Last year: 28-2 (State champions). Top players: 3B Carsyn Gordon, Jr.; SS Kylan Becker, Jr.; 2B Denver Keller, Jr.; OF-1B Cristina Colli, Jr.

2. PALMETTO (Coach Emilio Exposito, 2nd year at PAL, 6th overall, 18-9). Last year: 18-9 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: OF Megan Greenwell, Sr.; P-3B Amanda Guglietta, So.; SS Rachel Blackburn, Sr.; UTL Karra Brown, Sr.

3. SOUTHWEST (Coach Ray Blanco, 2nd year, 18-7). Last year: 18-7 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: C-P Katherine Dube, So.; 1B Karina Gato, Jr.; 3B Carolina Silverio, Fr.; CF Stephanie Garcia, Jr.

4. KILLIAN (Coach Ryan Ricke, 3rd year, 23-18). Last year: 11-8. Top players: SS Emily Demurias, Sr.; P-OF Kelly Speer, Sr.; CF Madison Benitez, Sr.; 1B-OF Megan Zollo, Sr.

5. LOURDES (Coach Natalie Alvarez, 1st year). Last year: 13-6 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: SS Amanda Senra, Sr.; 2B-CF Alexis Gimbel, Jr.; CF Vicky Vega, Sr.; 1B-3B Jennifer Herold, Sr.

6. FERGUSON (Coach Marcela Del Rosario, 2nd year at FER, 3rd overall, 9-10). Last year: 9-10. Top players: P Yesenia Mondragon, Sr.; SS Jessica Chavez, Jr.; OF Sammy Arrastia, Sr.; C-UT Melissa Perez, So.

7. CORAL GABLES (Coach Natalie Carreno, 8th year). Last year: 14-12 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: P-1B Lauren Perna, Jr.; 1B-C Crystal Dingle, Jr.; SS-2B-P Chanel Wilson, Jr.; SS-2B Catarina Ruggiano, Sr.

8. SOUTH MIAMI (Coach Angel Torres, 1st year at SM, 5th overall, 30-18). Last year: 8-14. Top players: SS Erica Denis, Sr.; 2B Kathryn Garcia, Sr.; 3B Sabrina Perez, Sr.; 1B Samantha Lopez, Sr.

9. KROP (Coach Krista Latessa, 9th year, 80-50). Last year: 10-8. Top players: UTL Bailey Miller, Jr.; UTL Taylor Coachman, So.; OF Rochelle Jovane, Jr.

10. BRADDOCK (Coach Addy Marcote, 24th year, 334-214-4). Last year: 11-11. Top players: INF Beatriz Navarro, Jr.; P-INF Ginyer Morales, So.; 1B Jeneese Santana, Sr.; OF-C Cristal Parrales, Sr.

11. SUNSET (Coach Rafael Mesa III, 1st year). Last year: N/A. Top players: 1B-P Alexis Viciedo, Sr.; CF-P Sabrina Perez, So.; RF-1B Kathy Beck Escorse, Sr.; SS Natalie Bolivar, Jr.


AMERICAN (Coach Sergio Fernandez, 1st year). Last year: 20-4 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: 3B Kayleen Romero, Jr.; SS Alexandra Fernandez, Sr.; CF Michelle Murch, Sr.; P Andrea Rincon, Sr.


1. DORAL ACADEMY (Coach Walter Acevedo, 6th year at DOR, 8th overall). Last year: 16-12 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: P-3B Jennifer Acevedo, Jr.; SS-3B Samantha Lageyre, Jr.; CF-C Melody Grafals, Jr.; OF Dayra Pla, Sr.

2. GOLEMAN (Coach Orlando Barreda, 6th year, 88-36). Last year: 19-9 (Regional finalist). Top players: UT Angie Montalvo, Sr.; P Vicky Morales, Sr.; OF Jessica Costero, Jr.; INF Kristy Veiga, So.

3. MIAMI SPRINGS (Coach Charlie Green). Last year: 18-4. Top players: P Geneva Santos, Sr.; SS Crystal Ramos, Sr.; C Norma Rodriguez, Sr.; OF Emily Santos, So.

4. TERRA (Coach Crystal Martinez, 2nd year). Last year: 14-7 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: P Tayler Sanchez, So.; SS Oceana Camejo, So.; C Victoria Conway, Jr.; 3B Amanda Portal, Jr.

5. MOURNING (Coach P.J. Flaherty, 3rd year at ATM, 13th overall). Last year: 9-10. Top players: P Taylor Fisher, Sr.; SS Veronica Tovar, Sr.; C Victoria Davidson, Jr.; RF Karina Cabada, So.


1. GULLIVER (Coach Mark Schusterman, 29th year, 610-170). Last year: 25-5 (State champions). Top players: P-OF Gabbee Draney, Sr.; SS Crystal Garcia, Sr.; C-3B Tori Rios, Jr.; 3B-SS Jessica Rivera, So.

2. FLORIDA CHRISTIAN (Coach Scott Stemmer, 15th year). Last year: 14-14 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: SS Brianna Ernst, Jr.; P-1B Karli Smith, Jr.; OF-INF Monica Marquez, Fr.; 1B Addy Garcia, Jr.

3. MONSIGNOR PACE (Coach Carlos Perez, 2nd year). Last year: 14-12 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: P-SS Sofia Dominguez, So.; 2B-C Veronica Perez, Fr.; OF-1B Natalie Rodriguez, Fr.; 3B Natie Leon, Sr.

4. ST. BRENDAN (Coach Mabel Armas, 1st year at StB, 5th overall). Last year: N/A. Top players: 1B Sam Dominguez, Sr.; SS Eliza Artiles, Fr.; P Deanna Delgado, Sr.; 3B-P Jessika Fraga, Sr.

5. RANSOM EVERGLADES (Coach Joe Mancuso, 10th year). Last year: 4-11. Top players: C Gaby Henriquez, Sr.; OF Tiffany McBrayer, 8th; P Gaby Jadotte, 8th; OF Franchesca Burgos, Sr.

6. MATER LAKES (Coach Giovanni Lorenzo, 4th year, 37-26). Last year: 15-8. Top players: P-INF Alexis Castroman, Jr.; SS Alyssa Rodriguez, So.; C Arlene Calleiro, Jr.; OF Melissa Luis, Sr.

7. CARROLLTON (Coach Alex Consuegra, 12th year at CAR, 19th overall). Last year: 7-10. Top players: C Marianne Sevilla-Sacasa, Sr.; P Kelsey Craythorne, Sr.; INF Laura Rabassa, Sr.; INF Micaela Rionda, Sr.


1. WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN (Coach Scott Doan, 10th year at WC, 23rd overall, 510-56). Last year: 23-5 (Regional finalist). Top players: 2B Brittany Husk, Sr.; P Kelli Kleis, Sr.; SS Caitlin Charlton, Sr.; C Kaytlin Musa, Sr.

2. ARCHBISHOP CURLEY (Coach Beth Love, 10th year). Last year: 17-5 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: P-1B Alyssa Lambert, Sr.; OF Jenny Lamy, Sr.; SS-P Sarisha Wiggan, Fr.; 2B Tiffany Ospin, Sr.

3. ARCHBISHOP CARROLL (Coach Jorge Perez, 10th year). Last year: 8-9 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: C Mailyn Gonzalez, Jr.; 1B Jennifer Blancherd, Jr.; 2B Madison Armand, Sr.; SS Emily Vaglio, Jr.

4. MIAMI COUNTRY DAY (Coach Chris Antonopoulos, 14th year at MCD, 27th overall). Last year: 8-8 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: C-P Jackie Lash, Jr.; P Taylor Sennett, So.; SS-3B Elizabeth Finny, Jr.; 3B-2B Monica Howard, Sr.


MIAMI CHRISTIAN (Coach Jennifer Cerda, 1st year at MC, 7th overall). Last year: N/A. Top players: P-SS Janallene Lopez, So.; C Linda Russo, So.; UTL Rosa Castro, Sr.; 3B Chrissy Rosillo, 8th.

A year after winning its first state softball championship, Coral Reef’s lineup card still resembles an All-Star team.

But according to second-year coach Dario Rodriguez, the Barracudas are still focusing on the “team” part of it and not so much the “All-Star” mentality.

“One of the things I was concerned was them being a little too confident or comfortable [after winning the state championship],” Rodriguez said. “They’ve really worked hard since our conditioning. They’ve come back hungry and wanting to do it again and compete.”

Rodriguez has some evidence to back up his early appraisal of his team.

Coral Reef posted 15-0 blowout wins in last week’s preseason classics over Miami Springs and Doral Academy — each expected to be among the better teams in Miami-Dade County this season.

“It almost felt too good to be true at times,” Rodriguez said. “We set high goals for ourselves, but the biggest thing was how they played as a team.

“We have great individual players, but they united and really played for each other.”

For the Barracudas, it’s a matter of maintaining that approach that helped them win the school’s first state title last season in Class 8A.

At the plate, Coral Reef should be just as strong as last season when it scored 43 runs in five combined regional and state playoff games.

Leading the way is a core of juniors led by shortstop Kylan Becker and third baseman Carsyn Gordon.

Becker, an early FIU commitment, led the county in hitting with a .677 average last season and stole 39 bases.

Gordon, an early Florida State commitment, is one of the best defensive players in the nation at her position and hit .514 with 26 RBI last season.

Rodriguez believes second baseman Denver Keller will be the key both at the plate and defensively. Keller, who has drawn interest from UCF, has improved tremendously in the offseason and figures to be a big contributor.

Cassandra Garcia and Cristina Colli are each big offensive weapons and should do well again leading Coral Reef’s outfield.

One of the key seniors will be catcher Sarah Ortiz, a second-team All-Dade selection as a junior who has signed with Santa Fe College in Gainesville.

The only spot Coral Reef needs to replace is on the pitching circle where graduated senior Dayna Wilson excelled last season.

But Rodriguez is confident junior Michelle Mesa, who went 8-0 with a 1.73 ERA last season backing up Wilson, will fill in adequately.

Coral Reef has lined up a challenging schedule again.

The Barracudas will travel to the Kissimmee Klassic, play in the local SlamFest tournament and take on state powerhouses Westminster Christian and Plantation American Heritage.

“We may be even stronger defensively as a team overall,” Rodriguez said. “Mesa has done really well, and with her experience from last year, I think we can follow the same script and do it again.”


Gulliver graduated two of its best players in Ashley Leon (Auburn) and Stephanie Texeira (FIU). But the Raiders still have more than enough to contend for a fifth consecutive state championship, which would equal the state record held by Bartow.

Senior pitcher Gabbee Draney, senior shortstop Crystal Garcia and junior catcher Tori Rios lead an exeperienced squad.

Westminster Christian should be among the state’s overall best again led by a seniors Brittany Husk, Kelli Kleis, Caitlin Charlton and Kaytlin Musa.

A potential state contender from Dade could emerge in Class 6A as well.

Doral Academy moved up from Class 4A and returns enough talent to battle Pembroke Pines Charter in the region for a spot at state.

Read more Miami-Dade High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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