This spring was another successful one for the area softball teams. Each of the seven high schools in the Record-Journal’s four towns qualified for the state tournament.
That made it difficult to narrow it down for the All-Record-Journal. Appropriately (we feel), we have representation from each squad.
• Regan Maloney, Maloney: The aptly named sophomore shortstop hit .649 for the 17-5 Spartans. She had a hit in all but one game this year and had multiple hits in 16 contests.
Maloney also attempted 28 stolen bases. She was successful on all 28 and wound up scoring 29 runs.
“Regan was a pleasant surprise,” Maloney coach Scott Aresco said. “I knew she was fast, but I never realized as good as she was. She could bunt or slap and made it difficult on defense. If defenses would play in, she would slap, and if they were back, she would bunt. They didn’t know what to expect.
“She hit over .600 and the more I saw her ever day, the more she reminded me of All-American Arielle Virgulto,” he added.
Maloney had 85 at-bats this season. She had 50 hits. She struck out just twice.
“I thought I would have a good year, but I didn’t expect anything like this,” Maloney said. “My confidence grew a lot as the season went along. I never felt like I was going to strikeout. I just made good contact.”
Paige Mickens-Uliase, Maloney: The senior has been rock solid in the circle the Spartans for three campaigns. This spring, she pitched them into the Class L quarterfinals with a 1.80 ERA.
Mickens-Uliase had four shutouts and two no-hitters.
“Paige is one of the hardest working kids that I’ve ever coached,” Maloney coach Scott Aresco said. “She never walks or jogs. She is the first one off the field and the first one on the field. She has a great work ethic.”
Mickens-Uliase will pitch at Western New England. She will play over the summer for the Connecticut Shock 18U, a travel team comprised of Meriden and Wallingford girls.
“It means a lot to be recognized,” the pitcher said of her All-RJ selection. “I was very happy with the season. I didn’t expect to do as well as we did with a young team. It’s always good to go further than expected and I was happy to do it in my senior season. We had six new starters and we made it all the way to the quarterfinals.”
In 152 innings, Mickens-Uliase fanned 199 and walked just 10.
Ashley Gallo, Platt: The four-year starting backstop batted .435 out of the No. 3 hole for the Panthers, who went 10-10 to qualify for the Class L tournament.
“Ashley is a good leader on and off the field,” Platt coach Trish Wodatch said. “She’s a positive role model and a hustler and she’s still humble in everything thing she does.”
Gallo was named All-Conference and selected to play in Monday’s Class LL/L Senior All-Star Game.
Prior to her senior year, Gallo was regularly in the No. 5 or 6 slot in the Panther order.
“She works hard in the offseason and in every aspect of her game,” Wodatch said.
Gallo was proud of her All-Record-Journal selection.
“It’s a great accomplishment and I’m happy about it,” Gallo said. “I feel I did well this year. I was happy with this award and All-CCC and playing in the Senior All-Star Game.”
Renee Sousa, Wilcox Tech: The junior captain, a three-year starter at shortstop, helped the Indians win the CSC Tournament and reach the quarterfinals of the Class M state tournament for the first time in school history.
“She was a fantastic leader being a captain. She really pushed the girls to strive harder and not get down on their mistakes and move on,” Wilcox coach Toni Gindel said. “She has a really good bat and a great arm at shortstop.”
How good was that stick? Batting cleanup, Sousa hit .677 with 27 RBI, four home runs, five triples and five doubles.
“Our year was surprising to everyone in how far we got, especially for a tech school,” Sousa said. “We really worked hard —all of us.
It was a great feeling,” Sousa said of the postseason success, in which the Tribe went 3-0 to win the CSC Tournament and beat East Hampton and Kaynor Tech to reach the Class M state quarterfinals.
“We worked so hard this year and to win the conference championship was exciting and we just kept going. Teams come out and say, ‘This is a tech school; we got this.’ Not with Wilcox. We come out fighting.”
Overall, Wilcox was 24-2.
Sam Carbone, Lyman Hall: The second of two sophomores on the inaugural All-RJ softball team.
Carbone, an All-SCC infielder, hit .343 with six doubles, 13 RBI and 25 runs scored. She also swiped eight bases as the Trojans went 10-10 and qualified for the Class LL tourney.
“Sam was asked to play multiple positions for us and she performed,” Lyman Hall coach Rob Brewster said. “She’s a natural leader and is a dream-type player to coach.”
Carbone hit in the middle of the Trojans order and rotated between shortstop and third base. She started at third last year as a freshman.
“Coming into Lyman Hall, I didn’t expect all of this to happen for me especially as a sophomore,” Carbone said. “It feels really good. We expected a better year, but we have a young team.
“All of our infield is freshmen and sophomores. All we can do is get better and we are going to work hard in the offseason and focus on that.”
Hunter Selvaggi, Sheehan: The senior centerfielder has been a slugger in the middle of the Titans’ order throughout her career.
“She was a leader on and off the field,” Sheehan coach Jocelyn Chang said. “She took time to help the younger players and was a fighter and was very important. She didn’t let the pressure get to her.”
Selvaggi helped Sheehan reverse a 1-7 start with an 8-4 finish. The Titans qualified for the Class L tournament with marquee wins over Foran and previously unbeaten North Branford.
Abby Abramson, Cheshire: The junior was perhaps the most dominant force in high school softball this spring.
The right-hander was a spotless 27-0. She hurled four straight shutouts in Class LL tournament play as Cheshire won its first state title in softball.
In addition to being an All Record-Journal honoree, Abramson was All-State, All-SCC, SCC Player of the Year and Class LL Finals MVP. She played in Tuesday night’s Junior Select All-Star Game.
“Each and every award is a testament to the Cheshire program and the coaching staff and my teammates,” Abramson said. “Success does not come individually. It comes from being a team and working together. We need all of the pieces in place.”
Megan Hodgdon, Cheshire: The senior catcher was a steadying presence behind the plate all season for the Class LL champs.
Like Abramson, she was selected All-State and played in Monday’s Class LL/L Senior All-Star Game.
“Megan and Abby really set the tone for the year,” Cheshire coach Kristine Drust said. “Just being leaders in the offseason and, come game time, they seemed to control the game in more than one area. They’ve been great leaders and led the team to all of our success we’ve had this season.”
Hodgdon was a leader, both vocally and by example.
“Megan bought into that position,” Drust said. “She worked at it. She’s a presence. She’s very athletic and very comfortable with the pressure on.”
Brenna Sarantides, Southington: After three years in the shadows, Sarantides emerged as a star in the circle as a senior.
Sarantides was dominant with an 18-2 record with a 0.59 ERA. Those numbers earned her an All-State nod.
“She was a captain that led by example,” coach Davina Hernandez said. “She waited three years to play and it takes a special kid to do that. She could have been a four-year starter at a lot of other schools.”
Sarantides also hit .383 at the dish to help the Blue Knights reach the Class LL semifinals.
Emily Mankus, Southington: Like Sarantides, Mankus waited for her chance. Once she got it, she flourished with a .381 average and a team-high 23 runs scored.
“She had a great year and was a consistent No. 3 hitter,” Coach Hernandez said. “I could always count on her to consistently put the ball in play. She always did what she was asked to do and never missed a sign. As a No. 3 hitter, she wasn’t afraid to put down a bunt.”
Mankus was a reserve on Southington’s Class LL three-peat teams of 2013, 2014 and 2015. She was an All-State outfielder in 2016.
Natalie Wadolowski, Southington: The fourth-year slugger had an All-State senior campaign. She led the Blue Knights with .408 average and 28 RBI while playing the hot corner.
“Natalie had an excellent senior year,” Coach Hernandez said. “She’s a great leader who stepped it up as a vocal leader this year. Before this year, she was always a quiet kid.”
Wadolowski, a three-sport athlete at Southington High, is headed to Boston College on a softball scholarship.