Ally Muraskin has rarely been fazed by anything throughout her pitching career.
But just thinking about the potential milestone she and her Coral Springs Charter softball teammates may accomplish this season, she gets goose bumps.
“I can’t even imagine what that’s going to be like,” said Muraskin, a senior and UCF signee. “The hard part is that I only have about 20-something more games with my teammates. But I just want to say we made history together.”
During Muraskin’s stellar career, Coral Springs Charter has broken through and become one of the state’s best softball teams.
She and the Panthers enter the season that began Monday with a chance to become the first Broward County team to win three state titles in a row.
Muraskin, who finished with 256 strikeouts and went 21-3 with a 0.55 ERA last season, spearheads Charter’s talented squad that brings back several of its key players.
“This team is a little different, but we seem to be even more unified than in the past,” Charter coach Mark Montimurro said. “I’m hoping with Ally in the circle and the objective of winning it again as the motivating factor, that those ingredients propel us to our goal.”
Muraskin will be pitching once again to junior catcher Gianna Boccagno, a Boston College commitment.
They will be backed up by an infield led by sophomore shortstop Lindsey Garcia, who is attracted interest from Auburn and LSU. Sophomores Shannon Doherty and Sara Berthiaume will also start in the infield.
Senior Amanda Flynn anchors the Panthers’ outfield once again.
“We don’t want the girls to become consumed with making history,” Montimurro said. “We want them to just handle their business from day to day.”
While Charter is chasing a record for consecutive championships, the Broward school with the most state titles is looking to add to its collection.
Plantation American Heritage returns as the favorite to win the Class 6A championship for the second year in a row, which would mark the third time in school history that the Patriots would have won back-to-back state titles.
Heritage is chasing its eighth state title, which would tie Bartow for the second-most in state history.
Arguably the deepest infield in the county and possibly the state will wear the Patriots’ black and yellow. Junior Hannah Sipos will anchor the left side at shortstop or third base, while senior first baseman Maya Rodriguez and second baseman Brooke Langston join her on the other side. Pitching will be the key and Heritage is counting on a big season from senior Olivia Saviskas (6-1, 62 strikeouts, 0.90 ERA in 2016).
Monday: Regular season began.
March 16-18: Speedball Classic.
March 23-25: South Florida SlamFest.
April 6-8: Kissimmee Klassic.
April 18-21: GMAC and BCAA Big 8 championships.
April 24-29: Districts.
May 3: Regional quarterfinals (Classes 9A-5A).
May 4: Regional semifinals (Classes 4A-1A).
May 9: Regional semifinals (9A-5A); finals (4A-1A).
May 12: Regional finals (9A-5A).
May 17-20: State tournament at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach.
2016 STATE CHAMPIONS
Class 9A: Winter Garden West Orange; 8A: Bartow; 7A: Gainesville; 6A: Plantation American Heritage; 5A: Coral Springs Charter; 4A: Fort Myers Bishop Verot; 3A: Lakeland Christian; 2A: Monticello Aucilla Christian; 1A: Chiefland.
1. (tie) Coral Springs Charter and American Heritage; 3. St. Thomas Aquinas; 4. Cooper City; 5. Pines Charter; 6. Douglas; 7. Calvary Christian; 8. Coral Glades; 9. Monarch; 10. Pompano Beach; On the rise: Miramar, McArthur, Western.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS
P: Cassidy Crump, Calvary Christian, Fr.; Emily Estroff, Monarch, Jr.; Kara Lokiensky, Cooper City, Sr.; Ally Muraskin, Coral Springs Charter, Sr.; Alexandra Taylor, Coral Glades, Sr.; INF: Chelsea Brown, Westminster Academy, So.; Lindsay Garcia, Coral Springs Charter, So.; Elisa Gonzalez, Pines Charter, So.; Brooke Langston, American Heritage, Sr.; Kayla Liebman, Western, Sr.; Julia Ramos, Pines Charter, Sr.; Maya Rodriguez, American Heritage, Sr.; Hannah Sipos, American Heritage, Jr.; C: Gianna Boccagno, Coral Springs Charter, Jr.; Lindsay Gehring, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; Katie Thompson, Cooper City, Sr.; OF: Amanda Flynn, Coral Springs Charter, Sr.; Jordyn Griffith, American Heritage, So.; Lauren Stansell, St. Thomas Aquinas, Jr.
NOTE: For complete team-by-team outlooks, go to www.miamiherald.com/sports/high-school/
TEAM-BY-TEAM OUTLOOKS –
DOUGLAS (Coach Brian Staubly, 7th year at SD, 12th overall, 177-81). Last year: 13-10. Top players: SS Allison Kerce, Jr.; 2B Allie Macleod, Sr.; C Jackie McKenna, Jr.; 3B Samantha Kelley, Sr.; P Gianna Lovito, Jr.
MONARCH (Coach Kenny Forbes, 1st year). Last year: 22-3-1 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: P Emily Estroff, Jr.; 3B Kiara Robin, Sr.; C Aubrey McNulty, Sr.; LF Sarah Goldman, Sr.; UT Brooke Tobey, So.; 1B Emily Forbes, Sr.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (Coach Bryan Baucom, 23rd year). Last year: 23-5 (State semifinalist). Top players: C Lyndsay Gehring, Sr.; OF Lauren Stansell, Jr.; SS Meagan Patterson, So.; P Gabriella Nori, Jr.; P Kaitlin King, So.; 2B Jeyda Brodie, Jr.
COOPER CITY (Coach Phil Schmalz, 9th year, 154-75). Last year: 18-10 (Regional finalist). Top players: P Kara Lokeinsky, Sr.; C Katie Thompson, Sr.; OF Kassandra Espinosa, Jr.; OF Rebeka Ehrenthal, Jr.; OF Michelle Adelman, So.; 1B Katherine Claros, Jr.
SOUTH PLANTATION (Coach Robyn Handler, 14th year, 459-204). Last year: 15-6 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: C-INF Amber Greive, So.; C-UT Milanna Crisanti, Sr.; P-INF Ashley Hishon, Jr.; OF Nicole Kreisler, Sr.; OF Jillian Melinek, So.; INF-OF Macey Melinek, So.; INF Emily Racine, Sr.
AMERICAN HERITAGE (Coach Marty Cooper, 14th year at AH, 25th overall, 551-136-1). Last year: 26-2 (State champions). Top players: SS-3B Hannah Sipos, Jr.; OF Jordyn Griffith, So.; 2B Brooke Langston, Sr.; 1B Maya Rodriguez, Sr.; P Olivia Saviskas, Sr.; C-DH Sydney Gorbman, Sr.
CORAL SPRINGS CHARTER (Coach Mark Montimurro, 5th year at CSC, 19th overall, 407-106). Last year: 26-3 (State champions). Top players: P Ally Muraskin, Sr.; C Gianna Boccagno, Jr.; SS Lindsay Garcia, So.; OF Amanda Flynn, Sr.; INF Shannon Doherty, So.; INF-OF Sara Berthiaume, So.
PINE CREST (Coach Mike Thompson, 9th year at PC, 13th overall). Last year: 7-10. Top players: SS-3B Samantha Restrepo, So.; C Allison Trebbi, So.; OF-UT Allison Silitsky, Sr.; OF Andie Weinberg, Jr.; 3B-SS-UT Nicole Kone, Jr.; 1B Danielle Bejar, Jr.
NSU UNIVERSITY SCHOOL (Coach Chad Martin, 2nd year). Last year: 4-15. Top players: 2B Emily Johnson, So.; P-1B Annika Jacobs, Jr.; 1B-P-C Aiden Pasternak, Fr.
CALVARY CHRISTIAN (Coach Lee Gilreath, 5th year at CC, 6th overall, 75-49). Last year: 17-10 (Regional finalist). Top players: P Cassidy Crump, Fr.; C Hannah Jhoslien, Sr.; INF Cameryn Chang, Sr.; INF Gabby Carcioppolo, So.; INF Samantha Gilreath, Jr.; INF Amanda Chang, So.
WESTMINSTER ACADEMY (Coach Casey Jarvis, 8th year, 86-60). Last year: 14-8. Top players: INF Chelsea Brown, So.; INF-C Maddi Conner, Jr.; P-INF Jaime Davis, 8th; INF Emma Hoffman, Fr.; UT Olivia Melchiode, So.
POSNACK (Coach Jen Villarin, 10th year). Last year: 7-5. Top players: 1B Lindsay Brandwein, Sr.; SS Maya Shearouse, Sr.; P Sabrina Emano, Fr.; OF Talia Levy, Fr.; 2B Mallie Feldman, So.; C Andie Mermelstein, So.
HALLANDALE (Coach Jesenia Nunez, 1st year). Last year: 0-13. Top players: SS-P-INF Alina Jerez, Sr.; C-INF Carolina Santiago, Sr.; CF Samantha Reid, Sr.