Guilford Softball Eager to Compete in 2021
After her team had to sit out last year, Head Coach Meghan Wiese is eager to see what the Guilford softball squad can accomplish on the diamond in the 2021 spring season. (Photo courtesy of Meghan Wiese )
Senior captain Ema Signore (pictured in a game from 2019) is back in the circle as the starting pitcher for the Guilford softball team this year. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Jill Batick patrolled center field as a sophomore, but the senior captain will be shifting into the infield for the Grizzlies this season. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Junior Allie Petonito is starting at second base for the Guilford softball squad this spring. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
When the Guilford softball team hit the diamond last week, it marked the first time that the Grizzlies had seen live competition in more than a year. Last year, the entire 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the team’s players and coaches wondering when they would be able to compete again.
When she heard the news that softball would be played this year, Guilford Head Coach Meghan Wiese couldn’t wait to start working with her squad. On April 10, the Grizzlies began their season with a home game against Cheshire, taking a 9-0 defeat to the Rams. Despite the loss, Coach Wiese feels positive about Guilford’s prospects for the 2021 campaign.
“Our expectations as a team is to play each of our opponents competitively and with no regrets,” said Wiese. “No matter if we are practicing or playing in a game, we will strive to give our best and work hard—most importantly, consistently supporting one another and maintaining a positive mindset. Of course, we want to qualify for the playoffs and finish the season stronger than ever.”
Senior captains Jill Batick and Ema Signore are leading the way for the Grizzlies this year. Batick played center field during her sophomore season and will transition to the infield for her senior campaign. As a sophomore, Batick earned All-SCC Second Team honors after posting a .333 batting average on 19 hits to go with 12 runs scored.
Signore, a pitcher, started all 20 games for Guilford as a sophomore in 2019. She pitched a complete game in 17 of those contests.
“The captains for the 2021 season are seniors Jill Batick and Ema Signore. Batick earned All-SCC Second Team honors in her sophomore campaign, and Signore is ready to find herself back in the circle,” Coach Wiese said. “Since being named captains, they have led the team on and off the field.”
Coach Wiese also sees junior Allie Petonito making a significant contribution at second base this season. Senior outfielder Carissa Ross is another one of Guilford’s key players. Both athletes have been starters since their freshman years.
“Allie Petonito will continue her impact on the team as she returns to the infield after starting at second base as a freshman. Carissa Ross has been a varsity player since her freshman year and looks to end her career in a Guilford uniform strong,” said Wiese. “Coming into this season, we have several areas where we will see new faces in the starting lineup and, each day, we continue to finalize those decisions. I am expecting several players to play a key role in this season’s success.”
Guilford’s roster for the 2021 season also includes junior outfielders Maddy Smith, Ava Singleton, and Schuylar Giwa, along with sophomores infielder Sophia Stanger; pitcher/infielder Sadie Huffman; infielder/outfielders Kaili Rosa, Rubi Espejo, and Charlotte Martocci; and outfielder Sami Green.
The Grizzlies also have freshmen pitcher/infielders Sophia Meade, Anna Fagan, and Adrianna Piascik; infielder/outfielder Zamira Penner; infielders Marley Falcone, Addie Smith, Elizabeth Barcello, Emma Getrost, and Sadie Iozzia; and outfielders Olivia Pionke, Eliza Chamberlain, and Saachi Mehta on their roster this spring. When Guilford played Cheshire in its season opener, Meade went 1-for-3 with a double.
After seeing the 2020 season get canceled, Coach Wiese said that the Grizzlies are going to feel grateful every time that they step on the field this year. There are plans for conference tournaments and state tournaments to be held after the regular season. Wiese understands the importance of following safety protocols if her team wants to play a complete campaign.
“COVID is of course on all our minds, and doing our part to keep everyone safe is our first priority,” Wiese said. “Since day one, we know that at any minute our season could come to an abrupt end or be put on pause. Players can be placed in quarantine at the drop of a hat. With that mindset, we are focused on being in the moment and being able to play.”
School districts have implemented various policies in terms of fan attendance for the 2021 season. Guilford is limiting the number of spectators that can attend its home games, and some schools are not allowing visiting spectators to attend their games at all. While she loves to see plenty of fans in the stands, Coach Wiese doesn’t believe that these limitations will have too big of an impact on the Grizzlies.
“Fans can play a huge part during the games, and each game will be different depending on the district’s spectator policy,” said Wiese. “I don’t see a limited number of fans having an impact on our team, knowing that our players are here to support one another.”
Coach Wiese said that the turnout rate for the Guilford softball team is the highest that it’s been in years. With a large cast of dedicated players, Wiese feels excited to see what the Grizzlies can achieve on the field during the spring season.
“We can’t be more excited. We are one team with the opportunity to play at both the varsity and junior varsity level. We will focus on one day, one practice, one game at a time and, when we look back on the season, we want to make sure we had no regrets in our performance as an individual and, more importantly, as a team,” Wiese said. “At the beginning of the season, each player chose one word that would summarize their season. All 25 words are on a team ball and, before each game, we remind them to remember their one word. It’s just nice to be back on the field.”