By MIKE SMITH
After a taste of some postseason success in 2013, the Mamaroneck softball team is coming into the 2014 campaign with its sights fixed firmly on sectionals.
Despite losing a number of seniors from last year’s team, the Tigers should be poised to emerge as one of the top teams in their league as they gear up for the season ahead.
The Tigers return five players from last year’s team, including ace Jen Gottfried, who will once again shoulder the bulk of the pitching duties. Last season, Gottfried started 21 games for Mamaroneck, posting an 11-10 record with a 2.01 ERA. Gottfried pitched 122 of the 147 innings Mamaroneck played last spring.
According to head coach Allison Rogers, Gottfried’s presence will go beyond her abilities on the mound this year as she will be one of the veterans tasked with bringing along a talented crop of underclassmen.
“She’s really going to be relied upon to keep the team focused,” Rogers said. “With a young group, we’re going to need to keep the infield confident behind her.”
Junior standout Kimi Chiapparelli, who led the team in every hitting category last year batting .368 with 2 homers and 26 RBIs, will take over catching duties this year after manning the shortstop position for the Tigers since she was in eighth grade.
In Chiapparelli, Rogers said the Tigers will have a dependable backstop who will also be called upon to lead the young squad.
“With Kimi and Jen out there, it’s like we have two coaches on the field,” Rogers said. “[Catching] is something she’s been working on in her travel teams and I think she’s really a natural catcher. She’s just such a skilled player; she can play anywhere on the field.”
Rogers also expects big things from sophomore Chelsea Rose, who will move from third base to short this season. As a freshman starter, Rose hit .295 and smacked five doubles.
Rogers said it will be incumbent upon the returnees to build upon last year’s playoff run, which saw the Tigers beat New Rochelle in extra innings in a first-round matchup before bowing to Carmel in a tight 1-0 game.
“I think we all came in pretty hungry this year,” Rogers said. “We saw the way last season went and I think it showed the girls we belong at that level, this year and for years to come.”
Mamaroneck will open the season on the road on March 28 at Horace Greeley.