Honesdale's varsity softball team should be right in the thick of the fight for a division title this spring
The Lady Hornets put together a solid season last year on the varsity softball diamond.
Under the direction of veteran manager Dave Patrisso, Honesdale battled its way to an 8-6 Lackawanna League record.
That left the Red & Black tied for third with Delaware Valley in Divison One, trailing only Wallenpaupack Area (13-1) and North Pocono (12-2).
As a result, the local lasses qualified for districts. However, they were bounced by Coughlin in the first round of the Class AAA tournament.
This spring, Honesdale appears poised for a title run in a newly re-aligned league. The Lady Hornets will battle Paupack, Western Wayne, North Pocono and DV in Division Two.
"We're in a tough division, no doubt about it," Coach Patrisso said. "But, I absolutely think that we're going to be right in the thick of things. This team is definitely capable of competing with the big dogs."
Just a cursory glance at the varsity roster would seem to affirm his optimism. Honesdale returns eight starters from last year's squad, including a trio of talented pitchers.
Faith Decker, Mackenzie Dirlam and Jackie Gallik will all see significant innings this season.
"We're very lucky to have three good young pitchers," said Coach Patrisso. "Any one of those girls could be a #1 on a lot of teams and I'm excited to see what they can do."
Maple City fans will also get a chance to see it starting this week. Weather permitting, the Lackawanna League's regular season slate gets underway Thursday afternoon with a road trip to Scranton.
None of Honesdale's pitchers will be setting any strikeout records this season. However, each brings a unique skill set to the circle.
Decker will likely earn the majority of starts. A junior righty, Faith fanned just 21 but finished among the Top 10 in Division One with a solid 3.89 ERA.
"Faith likes to work the corners and mix up her pitches," Coach Patrisso said. "She has excellent control. She's always around the plate and very rarely walks anyone."
Dirlam also saw a great deal of action at the varsity level last year. Another junior righty, Mackenzie finished up the league slate with 22 Ks, three wins and a 3.32 ERA.
"Our goal is to let the defense make plays," said Coach Patrisso. "Mackenzie relies on her fastball a little more, so she'll probably have a few more strikeouts."
Gallik is just a sophomore, but brings a boatload of potential to the table.
"There's no doubt in my mind that Jackie could be a #1 or #2 on a lot of teams," Coach Patrisso said. "She's a very good young pitcher and we're thrilled to have her."
Stacey Hart will anchor the infield. A sophomore shortstop, Hart cracked the starting line-up as a frosh and never relinquished it.
Seniors Nicole Cush and Libby Rickard are battling it out on the Hot Corner, while Sydney Goyette (Sr) and Natasha Hessling (Soph) are vying for time at first.
Ashley Flederbach (Sr) will play second, while Dirlam may be pressed into service as the first string catcher.
"We lost a terrific catcher to graduation in Natalie O'Reilly," said Coach Patrisso. "And, coming into the spring I really didn't know who'd replace her.
"But, I asked Mackenzie is she'd consider it. She has a cannon for an arm and is the kind of kid who'll do anything to help the team."
Kacie Johannes will patrol centerfield for Honesdale. A senior and multi-sport standout, Johannes is fresh off a run to the PIAA state playoffs in basketball.
Gallik is penciled in for leftfield when she's not on the mound. Renee Joyal (Sr) and Megan Benson (Soph) will be splitting time in right.