Seraphs out to gain respect in upcoming tourneys

first_img BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Maggy Fermo and Brianna Murphy are wrapping up their high school softball careers at Mater Dei Prep strongly, just as they started them, before embarking on college careers.The Seraphs, who are 12-3 coming into the week, won their fifth straight Shore Conference B North Division title, the first outright title since 2008 after sharing a twoway tie the past two seasons. The record matches the win total of last season’s 12-6 mark. But as they come off a 6-3 Monmouth CountyTournament quarterfinal loss to Middletown South that included a triple play turned by the Seraphs, and prepare for the NJSIAA tournament, catcher Fermo and center-fielder Murphy are a little softspoken as to how far their team can advance. Both players were on Mater Dei’s Non-Public B championship team in their freshman year.“We have a lot of freshmen this season and young players who came in inexperienced as compared to our freshman year, when we had nine seniors, eight of them starters,” said Murphy, who is heading to Susquehanna this fall. “It’s a little different from that team because everyone’s new this year, and that team had girls playing together with a lot of experience.”“Those girls were together for four years, and five or six were on travel teams and they had good communication,” said Fermo, who said she is expected to move back into the outfield, where she played as a freshman at Mater Dei, when she heads to Drexel. “These young players we have on the team this year are still maturing.”Because of that, both said they were pleased and excited about the success of the team this season.“Obviously in the beginning we had our doubts, but as the season progressed, we were pleasantly surprised,” said Murphy.“We have a lot of girls with great potential but we have a great coach in Jeanne Dickinson, and that’s the biggest thing,” said Fermo.“Those two are my bread and butter,” Dickinson said of Fermo, the No. 2 batter with a .592 batting average and 19 RBIs going into this week, and Murphy, a leadoff hitter batting .588 with 28 runs scored and 16 stolen bases.The Seraphs played at Rumson-Fair Haven on May 17 and Shore Regional the following day.Mater Dei starts play in the Shore Conference Tournament on Friday when the Seraphs, the No. 10 seed, will host Manalapan, the No. 23 seed.“We have a tough road ahead; we’re young,” said Dickinson, coaching in her 30th season at Mater Dei Prep. “Acouple of teams in [Non-Public] B are ranked in the state.”The coach pointed to Gloucester Catholic, Sacred Heart, St. Joseph’s of Hammonton and Wardlaw-Hartridge as sharp prospects in the state tournament. Although those teams are loaded with proven, experienced players, some younger players at Mater Dei Prep have made their presence felt. Sophomore pitcher Jackie Nash, who started last year, has a 1.02 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 10 walks in 91 innings pitched and good support.“Our defense is strong,” said Dickinson. “She doesn’t overpower people and we don’t mind them hitting the ball.”Dickinson said sophomore Larisa Chiesa “is one of the better shortstops” in the division with two errors in 71 chances and a potent bat that has cranked out a .367 average with 16 RBIs. Freshman first baseman Emilie Boman has only two errors in 104 chances and a .320 batting average with 14 RBIs. The other infielders are junior second baseman Felicia Faccas and sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Nash, Jackie’s sister, who has five errors.Sophomore Jordan Donohue, a sophomore who transferred from Middletown North, has not committed an error in left field and bats .321, while sophomore Skyelar McCartney and freshman Audriana Miller share time in right field.ButMurphy points to a 2-0 victory over well-regarded Freehold Township in which Chiesa poked a two-run single down the right field line in the seventh inning to show that her team can rise to the occasion.“We’re always the underdog, but I think people need to respect Mater Dei a little more, which we showed when we beat Freehold Township,” said Murphy. Mater Dei Prep softball team wins B North last_img read more