Lockport's entire starting line-up wiped out by graduation
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
How do you replace a starting line-up of collective senior all-stars who produced Lockport’s first Niagara Frontier League softball championship in history?
You don’t try to.
That’s the philosophy that Lady Lions head coach Julie Kwoka is taking heading into the 2013 season, after losing eight senior starters to graduation, including all-everything outfielder Emily Belfield.
“You don’t replace that group. They were one of a kind,” Kwoka said while putting her team through a workout this week at LHS, a team in which more than half of her players have no prior varsity experience.
“We’ll just have to go back to the basics. This is a tremendous group I’m working with this year. There’s a lot of excitement. They’re good kids.”
Lockport finished 12-2 in the league last season to finish as co-champions along with Niagara Falls.
Among the returning players are seniors Allie Cavagnaro, Shannon Krywcun, Kelly Anderson and Maddie Steen.
Fresh off another strong basketball season, the mobile, blue collar Cavagnaro will take up Patti Burdick’s three-year starting slot at shortstop in the infield.
“I’ve had Allie on varsity since the eighth grade. I’m going to need her to be my leader this year — especially defensively, communicating between the infield and outfield,” Kwoka said.
Krywcun, who came up as a sophomore, will start in the outfield. “She brings a strong bat and a great attitude,” Kwoka said. “Both Shannon and Leah VanDenBosch are off to good starts this year with their bats. We’re actually hitting the ball very well. We just need to cut down on our errors and mental mistakes.”
Anderson will handle the catching duties, taking over for another three-year starter and fleet-footed leadoff hitter, Nora Passuite, while Steen will play second. Also coming off a great season on the hardwood, sophomore Alyssa Wagner will play first with classmate Jordyn Kwoka at third. Joining Krywcun in the outfield will be the freshman sensation VanDenBosch, with the final starting outfield spot, “up for grabs,” Kwoka said.
In the circle, the Lady Lions will be led defensively by windmill pitchers junior Megan Schneider and sophomore Jennifer Krieger. Kwoka said so far the right-handers have split the pitching duties, but Schneider’s the designated starter for the Lady Lions’ NFL opener at 4:30 p.m. Monday against visiting Niagara Falls. Friday’s scheduled opener against Kenmore East was rained out.
Rounding out the Lady Lions’ 2013 roster are sophomores Abbey Chenez, Delaney Fragale, Angela Sammarco and Emily Steen.
Among the top teams to beat this year in the NFL will be Niagara-Wheatfield, Kenmore West and Niagara Falls, Kwoka said.