With no seniors and nearly half a roster of players who are in either the seventh or eighth grade, the Holy Trinity Tigers are … shall we say … a little young this season.
But don’t think for a second this is not a confident softball team.
In fact, junior Cali Perillo believes this may be the best team Holy Trinity has fielded in years.
“We have more pitchers. They’re young, but they’re very, very good,” Perillo said. “We have Ava Teply, our catcher. She’s a powerhouse. We have Hannah Leech, who can play anywhere in the infield and she has a good stick. Bebe (Stockton) has improved so much.
“I think we have younger girls, but they all love the game. They come out to practice and they actually have fun, and you can tell that they’re having fun.”
Head coach John Clarson believes his team will certainly be the favorite in Class 2A, District 8 which, after the Brevard HEAT decided not to field a team, is down to Melbourne Central Catholic and Merritt Island Christian.
“We’re going to be young in the outfield,” Clarson said. “We look very strong defensively in the infield. I think hitting-wise, we’ll not have the power we had last year, or the past couple of years, but I expect a couple of girls to step up.”
One of the big reasons for the excitement around this year’s team is the arrival of eighth-grade pitcher Isabella Kapatoes, whom Clarson said could be one of the best pitchers he’s ever had at Holy Trinity.
Stockton, a sophomore, has also shown improvement and eighth-grader Kali McMillan will be a key factor as well. Perillo, who came up as a pitcher, can also throw if needed.
Teply, a sophomore, is expected to be a two-way threat with her bat and her arm from behind the plate. Leech will be her primary backup.
The makeup of the infield could, and will likely, switch at times throughout the season, especially depending on how things go at first base.
Initially, Stockton is slated to start at second with Perillo at short and either Leech or Teply at third. The top candidates at first are McMillan, Kapatoes and freshman Aubrey Mooney.
Holy Trinity’s outfield could see a combination of freshman Grace Mooney, seventh graders Caleigh Schmoll and Kailei Kite, Aubrey Mooney, freshman Ana Calderin or freshman Jadeyn Webb.
Other players expected to contribute this season include seventh-grader Lexie Schonken (OF): eighth-grader June Lepper (OF); sophomore Janley Tavares (OF); eighth-grader Avery Parchinski (OF) and seventh-grader Siena Colucciello (OF).
Leech, a co-captain as a freshman, agrees with Perillo that the Tigers’ have great chemistry this season.
“We’re such a nicely bonded team,” Leech said. “You can tell everyone’s enjoying being at practice, being at games. Even if we’re just having a meeting, everyone’s happy to be there and be around each other.”
Perillo, another co-captain who has committed to play at Tampa, credited new assistant coach Tim Stockton with helping the Tigers improve.
In a district that is not expected to be close, the work the Tigers are doing in practice will help them tremendously in the postseason.
“These new drills we’re doing with Coach Tim, it’s insane,” Perillo said. “Everybody has grown. It’s awesome. I love it. We’re going to go far this year for sure.”