Everything was new for Coral Springs Charter’s softball team in 2015.
The Panthers won their first state title and completed their first unbeaten season.
Coral Springs Charter has the tools to repeat such success a year later with most of its key players returning. But veteran coach Mark Montimurro has warned his team about the difficulty of repeating as a state champion.
“If we stay healthy, we should be very strong again,” said Montimurro, who won his third state title last season after winning back-to-back state crowns at Hollywood Christian in 2003-2004. “Repeating is very hard. When I coached at Hollywood Christian, it seemed like the second year coming off a title was the harder than the first one.”
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The Panthers, who went 29-0-1 last season, won’t be given much of a break as their daunting schedule should keep them focused on the task of becoming the fourth Broward County team to win back-to-back state titles (American Heritage, St. Thomas Aquinas, Hollywood Christian).
This first week of the regular season alone features a game against rising contender Miami Monsignor Pace on Tuesday and a clash against perennial powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday.
Charter will also play Plantation American Heritage later this month as well as Naples, Cooper City, Lake Worth Christian, Calvary Christian, Delray American Heritage, Key West and Palm Beach Gardens — all playoff teams last season — later in the season.
“Our schedule is probably the most difficult in the county,” Montimurro said.
The core of Charter’s team returns and will again be led by senior ace Allison Muraskin, a UCF commitment. Muraskin did not lose last season, going 26-0, striking out 300 batters and finishing with a 0.49 ERA.
Aside from Charter in Class 5A, Plantation American Heritage figures to be Broward’s top contender for a state title in Class 6A. The Patriots sport arguably the best infield in the state with senior shortstop Melissa Rini, junior second baseman Brooke Langston and sophomore third baseman Hannah Sipos. Senior pitcher Madison Canby, a Columbia University signee, is one of the best in the state.
-deep county will also have contenders in Class 9A with Douglas, Class 8A with St. Thomas Aquinas likely battling Cooper City and Class 7A with Pembroke Pines Charter.
Monday: Season began.
March 3-5: Speedball Classic at Silver Lakes West.
March 10-12: SlamFest tournament.
March 31-April 2: Kissimmee Klassic.
April 4-8: BCAA Big 8 championship.
April 11-15: Districts.
April 20: Class 9A-5A regional quarterfinals.
April 21: Class 4A-1A regional semifinals.
April 26: Class 9A-5A regional semifinals; Class 4A-1A regional finals.
April 29: Class 9A-5A regional finals.
May 4-7: State tournament at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach.
2015 STATE CHAMPIONS
Class 8A: Lithia Newsome; 7A: Cantonment Tate; 6A: Ocala Forest; 5A: Baker County; 4A: Coral Springs Charter; 3A: Lakeland Christian; 2A: Monticello Aucilla Christian; 1A: Chiefland.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS
P Sydney Bates, Western, Sr.; P Claire Blount, Pines Charter, Sr.; P Madison Canby, American Heritage, Sr.; P Sami Feller, Douglas, Sr.; P Kara Lokeinsky, Cooper City, Jr.; P Emma Maitland, South Plantation, Sr.; P Ally Muraskin, Coral Springs Charter, Jr.; P Brooke Stock, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; 1B-OF Sommer Grzybek, Cooper City, Sr.; 2B Thais Gonzalez, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; 2B Brooke Langston, American Heritage, Jr.; SS Skylar Fairchild, Coral Springs Charter, Sr.; SS Melissa Rini, American Heritage, Sr.; 3B Kayla Scaperrotta, Coral Springs Charter, Sr.; 3B Hannah Sipos, American Heritage, So.; OF Amanda Flynn, Coral Springs Charter, Jr.; OF Maggie Scott, Cypress Bay, Sr.; OF Brianna Stella, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; C Tina Diebel, Calvary Christian, Sr.; UT Chelsea Brown, Westminster Academy, Fr.
OTHERS TO WATCH
P: Cameryn Chang, Calvary Christian, Jr.; Nicki Rotman, Cypress Bay, Sr.; INF: Sabrina Hebding, Cooper City, Sr.; Samantha Restrepo, Pine Crest, Fr.; Allison Silitsky, Pine Crest, Jr.; C: Gianna Boccagno, So.; Ahnie Jumper, American Heritage, Jr.; Jacklyn McKenna, Douglas, So.; Katy Thompson, Cooper City, Sr.; OF: Megan Ashworth, Coral Springs Charter, Sr.; Sydney Barron, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; Grace Gonzalez, Cooper City, Sr.; UT: Emily Osteen, Coral Glades, Sr.
PRESEASON TOP 10
1. American Heritage. 2. Coral Springs Charter. 3. St. Thomas Aquinas. 4. Cooper City. 5. Pines Charter. 6. Douglas. 7. Western. 8. Calvary Christian. 9. South Plantation. 10. Cypress Bay
Under consideration: Monarch, Archbishop McCarthy, Westminster Academy, Pine Crest, Miramar, Cardinal Gibbons, West Broward, Chaminade-Madonna.
NOTE: For complete team-by-team outlooks, visit the online version of this story at www.miamiherald.com/high-schools
CYPRESS BAY (Coach Lonny Shapiro, 13th year) Last year: 12-10. Top players: OF Maggie Scott, Sr.; P Nicki Rotman, Sr.
DOUGLAS (Coach Brian Staubly, 6th year at MSD, 12th overall, 164-71) Last year: 25-7 (8A state semifinalist). Top players: P Sami Feller, Sr.; 3B Sami Kelley, Jr.; SS Allison Kevec, So.; C Jacklyn McKenna, So.; P Christina Granberry, Sr.
WESTERN Last year: 8A regional semifinalist. Top players: P-1B Sydney Bates, Sr.
COOPER CITY (Coach Phil Schmalz, 8th year at CC, 9th overall, 126-64) Last year: 18-6. Top players: OF-1B Sommer Grzybek, Sr.; P Kara Lokeinsky, Jr.; SS Sabrina Hebding, Sr.; C Katy Thompson, Jr.; 2B-OF Grace Gonzalez, Sr.; OF Beka Ehrenthal, So.
CORAL GLADES (Coach Richard Waldorf, 3rd year, 20-22) Last year: 12-10. Top players: RHP-UT Emily Osteen, Sr.; RHP-SS Alexandra Taylor, Jr.; C-1B-UT Victoria Diaz, Jr.; OF-UT Alyssa Magobet, Jr.; 3B-C Isabella Bertot, Fr.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (Coach Bryan Baucom, 22nd year, 511-101). Last year: 22-7 (7A state semifinalist). Top players: 2B Thais Gonzalez, Sr.; INF-OF Brianna Stella, Sr.; P Brooke Stock, Sr.; C Lindsay Gehring, Jr.; OF Sydney Barron, Sr.; C-INF Janai Conklin, Fr.
SOUTH PLANTATION (Coach Robyn Handler, 13th year at SP, 24th overall, 444-197) Last year: 16-12 (8A regional quarterfinalist). Top players: P Emma Maitland, Sr.; 3B Tabatha Hirsch, Sr.; SS Emily Racine, Jr.; OF Nicole Kreisler, Jr.; C-1B Milanna Crisanti, Jr.; INF Ashley Hishon, So.
PINES CHARTER (Coach Tom Fadul) Last year: 6A regional semifinalist. Top players: P Claire Blount, Sr.
AMERICAN HERITAGE (Coach Marty Cooper, 14th year at AH, 25th overall, 548-135-1) Last year: 25-2 (5A state runner-up). Top players: P Madison Canby, Sr.; 3B Hannah Sipos, So.; SS Melissa Rini, American Heritage, Sr.; 2B Brooke Langston, Jr.; C Ahnie Jumper, Jr.
ARCHBISHOP MCCARTHY (Coach Paul Falcone, 1st year) Last year: 17-11 (5A regional quarterfinalist). Top players: OF Kaitlin O’Hara, Sr.; OF Liz Vasquez, Sr.; C-INF Sam Segretto, Jr.; INF Alecia Behrens, So.
CORAL SPRINGS CHARTER (Coach Mark Montimurro, 4th year at CSC, 19th overall, 381-100) Last year: 29-0 (4A state champions). Top players: P Ally Muraskin, Jr.; 3B Kayla Scaperrotta, Sr.; SS Skylar Fairchild, Sr.; C Gianna Boccagno, So.; OF Amanda Flynn, Jr.; OF Megan Ashworth, Sr.
PINE CREST (Coach Mike Thompson, 8th year at PC, 12th overall) Last year: 8-11. Top players: INF-P Samantha Restrepo, Fr.; INF-P Allison Silitsky, Jr.; C Allison Trebbi, Fr.; OF Katherine Poppiti, Jr.; OF Andie Weinberg, So.; INF Nicole Kone, So.
WESTMINSTER ACADEMY (Coach Casey Jarvis, 7th year, 72-52) Last year: 15-7 (3A regional quarterfinalist). Top players: INF Chelsea Brown, Fr.; C-INF Maddi Conner, So.; P-INF Jaime Davis, 7th; P-INF Jenny Jacob, Fr.
BOYD ANDERSON (Coach Michael Handler, 1st year at BA, 5th overall, 15-51) Last year: 0-8. Top players: SS Chelsea Weaver, So.; P-2B Liz Golfin, So.; 3B Kernishka Lully, Fr.; OF Kareema Samuels, So.; 1B-OF Artanya Davis, So.; OF Jenelle Baily, So.