Newburgh Free Academy’s softball team reached the Section 9, Class AA in 2016 and 2017, and lost to Monroe-Woodbury both times.
Now the Lady Goldbacks return this season without some of the offensive and defensive support that put them into the middle of the sectional postseason. The missing bats will be Brittney Garcia and Sabrina Myers, two players with power, who sent the ball to the fence and beyond or other places safely in the outfield.
“We lost a lot of power. That production will be difficult to make up,” said Chris Leggett, the team’s first-year coach taking over for Luke Pereira.
Sarah Colotti, a speedy runner on the base paths and always a defensive threat, also graduated with Taylor Ricciardi, a stronger defender in the outfield for the Lady Goldbacks last season.
The Lady Goldbacks return with Gabbi Leggett, a senior at centerfield who also plays first base. Left and right field are still to be determined.
Maddie Pacione, a senior, will be pitching to Casey McKnight, a senior catcher. Karsen Leggett, a senior, will likely start at first, and Angie Clarino, a sophomore, will play second base. Marinna Vasta, a junior, will play shortstop, and Makenzie Quinn, a senior, will play third base. Quinn is also known to display some of the power that helped the Lady Goldbacks to a pair of sectional semifinal appearances.
“We won’t be able to hit the ball out of the park and expect to win this year,” said Chris Leggett. “One base at a time. Get runners on and bunt them over. Play small ball at times.”
Newburgh league schedule is scattered throughout April. But starting May 2, the Lady Goldbacks play Pine Bush, a league opponent, for the first time.
Two weeks later, they play Pine Bush in the season finale. Between those two games with Pine Bush, the Lady Goldbacks play Kingston, Middletown and Monroe-Woodbury, league opponents, in games that will likely determine if and where Newburgh makes or places as a seed in the sectional playoffs.
By Bond Brungard