Western Wayne features an intriguing mix of talented youngsters and battle-tested veterans

It’s been a tough spring thus far for Western Wayne’s varsity softball team.

The Lady ‘Cats are a young and talented group, champing at the bit to make a name for themselves.

However, Mother Nature hasn’t exactly cooperated and the fact that their facility still isn’t ready has players and coaches alike more than a little frustrated.

“Hey, it’s April 2 and we still haven’t had a single practice or game on our own home field,” said Coach Joe Romanowski.

“I feel bad for the kids because so far we’ve had to play all our games on the road. We’re getting back late just about every night and they’re just beat.”

The veteran skipper’s concern is understandable.

Western Wayne has the nucleus of an exciting team and he’s anxious to start building some momentum.

The Lady ‘Cats opened the 2019 season with a lopsided non-league loss at Valley West. Since then, though, they’ve been extremely competitive.

Led by senior co-captains Vaeda Pontosky and Rachel Butler, Western Wayne turned in impressive outings against Crestwood, Valley View and Marian Catholic.

“I’m excited,” Coach Romanowski said.

“We’re really hitting the ball up and down the order. Our pitching is coming along and if we can figure a couple of things out defensively we’ll be in great shape.”

Weather permitting, the local lasses will be back in action Thursday on the road again at Delaware Valley.

First pitch is slated for 4:30 p.m.in Milford.

Solid So Far

Western Wayne suffered a 13-3 setback in its opener against Valley West.

The Lady ‘Cats bounced back quickly, though, posting a 4-2 win over Crestwood.

Kennedy Mistishin paced the offensive attack with a perfect 3-for-3 day at the dish. The freshman third baseman also scored one run and drove in another.

“Kennedy has a ton of potential,” said Coach Romanowski. “She has a nice swing and there’s definitely some pop in her bat. Kennedy has been very consistent at third base. Once she gets some experience under her belt, she’s going to be a force.”

Alex Gravine also turned in a solid all-round effort.

The sophomore started at shortstop last year, but she’s playing first base this spring and providing serious power in the middle of the batting order.

Gravine went 2-for-3 against the Comets including a solo homer.

“Alex is a big strong kid who can really hit,” Coach Romanowski said. “She’s getting comfortable at first and really raking in the three spot.”

Kristi Kromko is also making her presence felt so far this spring.

A junior who’s made the major transition from outfield to catcher, Kromko went 1-for-3 with two RBIs against Crestwood.

“She’s the kind of kid who does whatever she can to help the team,” said Coach Romanowski. “Kristi is doing a good job behind the plate. She handles our pitchers well and swings a nice bat.”

Kaeli Romanowski drew the starting nod in the circle and authored a complete game gem.

A talented multi-sport athlete who also excels in basketball, Kaeli plays shortstop and bats lead-off.

The freshman righty pitched seven innings and allowed just two runs on four hits. She struck out two and walked one.

“She's a versatile kid and she's very competitive,” said Coach Romanowski. “Kaeli works hard and really hates to lose. She's got a bright future in front of her.”

Tough Losses

Western Wayne followed up its first win of the year with back-to-back razor thin losses.

The Lady ‘Cats fell to Valley View by a score of 7-6 and Marian Catholic 6-5.

Makenzie Rose led the way in these two contests.

A junior who was a divisional all-star last year, Rose pitches and plays short. She went 2-for-4 against Valley View and drove in her team’s only two runs versus Marian Catholic.

“Makenzie is our most experienced player,” Coach Romanowski said. “She brings a lot to the table. Makenzie bats second, but she can drive the ball gap-to-gap.”

Western Wayne also received key contributions from its senior leaders.

Vaeda Pontosky anchors the infield at second base. She ripped two hits, scored a run and drove in two more against Valley View.

“Vaeda is a great kid,” Coach Romanowski said. “She’s been playing for me since eighth grade. Vaeda is an excellent student who always hustles and always gives 100 percent.”

Rachel Butler plays in the outfield and has a big arm. She delivered a clutch hit and two RBIs in the loss to Valley View.

“Rachel has shown a lot of improvement, especially at the plate,” Coach Romanowski said. “If she gets a little bit of confidence, she’s going to do some damage.”

Moving Forward

Western Wayne is in the midst of a busy stretch with four games in six days.

On the heels of those tough losses Monday and Tuesday, Coach Romanowski was hoping for good weather and favorable field conditions for practice on Wednesday.

“This is a tough division and our non-league games are pretty tough too,” he said. “I’m looking forward to a good productive practice. We need to take a deep breath and re-focus.”

With an intriguing mix of battle-tested veterans and talented youngsters, the grizzled skipper likes what he sees.

“We’re going to sneak up on some folks,” Coach Romanowski said. “I think we’ve answered some questions and ironed some things out. I’m excited to see what this team can do.”