Having earned 200 wins during her nearly two decade career as a head coach, Kittatinny High School’s Heather Mate knows what it takes to succeed on the softball field-and she was very much looking forward to seeing what type of success her team could’ve earned this year.
The Lady Cougars tallied eight victories in 2019 and were hoping to improve upon that record this spring.
Kittatinny advanced to the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 Sectional Tournament as the No. 13 seed and were defeated by fourth seeded Glen Rock in 2019.
Seniors on Kittatinny’s varsity roster this year included Abby Martin (first base, Honorable Mention All New Jersey Athletic Conference in 2019, Second Team All NJAC in 2018), Ashley Romano (short stop, Second Team All NJAC in 2018 and 2019), Abby Roggenkamp (senior, second base) and Renee Slobodzian (second base).
Meghan DePalma (junior, right field), Ella Schoelier (junior, left field), Reese Vanderhoof (junior, third base), Jolie Laukaitis (junior), Taylor Trimper (junior), Ella Schoelier (junior), Reese Vanderhoof (junior) and Tara White (junior) represented the class of 2021 for the Lady Cougars.
Sophomores included Clara Ammacher, Emma Fischer, Alaina Fusco, Kiera Hubmaster, Mackenzie Shea, Emily Wohlleber and Amanda Chadwick.
Gia Checo-Gonzales, Taylor Current, Gina Kropp, Gwen Lightcap, Amber Seames and Grace Sheridan were freshman for the Lady Cougars.
“Last season we suffered a handful of losses with many of them being close games,’’ Kittatinny head coach Heather Mate said. “This season I [would’ve been] relying on our experienced core players-Ashley Romano, Abby Martin, Abby Roggenkamp, Ella Schoelier, Meghan DePalma Reese Vanderhoof, and Emily Wohlleber- and our newcomers to work together both offensively and defensively to get the job done.
“Although we have experience in our line-up, I [would’ve been] looking to some of our younger players and newcomers-Renee Slobodzian, Tara White, Kierra Hubmaster, Gia Checo-Gonzalez, and Gina Kropp-to step up and compete. Our infield [would have been] led by seniors Ashley Romano and Abby Martin, both three year varsity starters, and our outfield returns both Schoelier and DePalma. Behind the plate we will be returning Emily Wohlleber who I will be relying on heavily to transition both pitchers on the mound. They [the team] have spent all of their off-season and pre-season, honing in on the fundamentals, focusing on executing the little things and becoming a family. I believe that this team has the means to win and stay in games, but it will come down to every person on the team to put forth their best effort in executing both offensively and defensively.’’
Kittatinny competes in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Freedom Division along with Jefferson, Lenape Valley, North Warren, Newton and Vernon.
“We [were to play] in two charity games this season,’’ Mate said. “Our first charity game ‘Strikeout Cancer’ against Vernon and our second charity game of St. Jude’s Pediatric Cancer in late May against Morris Catholic.’’