Raritan seeking another successful season on softball diamond


Share post:

By Matthew Rocco

A veteran lineup and a talented ace in the circle have the Raritan High School softball team dreaming about another big season.

- Advertisement -

The Rockets have been a perennial success story. Although the team fell short in the Shore Conference and state tournaments in 2016, Raritan extended its run of winning seasons to 10, posting a 16-10 record overall and an 8-4 performance in the Shore Conference A Central Division. This season, under first-year head coach Marc Rosner, Raritan brings back a host of talent from a year ago.

Nicole Kirse will take over as the primary starting pitcher following the departure of three-year starter Nicole Coppolino. Kirse compiled a 7-2 record in 13 games a year ago, pitching to a 3.11 ERA and striking out 63 batters in 56.1 innings of work.

The senior hurler is also a major threat at the plate. She slugged three home runs and 23 RBIs in 2016, batting .400 overall.

“We’re returning a lot of players from a year ago, and we have some freshmen who can make an impact. They’re definitely competing in the preseason,” Rosner said. “We’re pretty strong, top to bottom. We’ve been shifting the order around, putting people in different spots to see who can do what, and where.”

Raritan has more veteran leadership in senior catcher Michelle Nestor, a .397 hitter last year, and junior Ashley Marino, who is entering her third season as the starting shortstop. Junior Annalesa DiLaurenzio will return to the starting lineup, playing center field.

The Rockets also have junior Alexis Zinckgraf and seniors Hallie Barone and Marisa Lepard in the mix. Zinckgraf pitched 5.1 innings as a sophomore. Barone was third on the team in RBIs with 17 last season.

Sophomores Nicole Buckley, Gabbie Zweidinger and Brooke Brady offer experience after logging a significant number of at-bats in their first season with Raritan. Buckley and Zweidinger both hit over .300.

The Rockets’ freshman class this year features Morgan O’Donnell, Lily Tomasiello, Taylor Calicari and Kristen Tigar.

The Rockets aim to surpass last year’s 16-10 mark, and they head into the spring with plans to be in the hunt for A Central, conference and state titles.

“We’ve been working since the winter, conditioning and hitting a few times a week, and pitchers and catchers working together. The girls have really bought into working hard and pushing each other,” Rosner said.

Raritan’s new skipper takes over a team that compiled the best eight seasons in school history during Aado Kommendant’s eight-year tenure. At Middletown High School North, Rosner had a combined record of 50-10 and led the Lions to back-to-back Shore Conference Tournament championships, all in his two seasons as head coach. Middletown North also advanced as far as the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Group III semifinals in each of the past two years.

Both Rosner and the Rockets have experienced their share of successes on the field. This season, they expect more of the same against tough competition in A Central. Raritan will battle with powerhouse Saint John Vianney High School, among others, for the division title.

“Day in and day out, you can’t take anything for granted. You have to accomplish little goals by taking care of business every day and getting better,” Rosner said. “We have some tests ahead of us. This is why we’ve been working so hard. Hopefully, it will pay off for us.”

The Rockets will open the season on the road April 1 at Brick Township High School. The home opener is set for April 3 against Mater Dei Prep, with first pitch at 3:45 p.m.

Stay Connected


Current Issue

Latest News

Related articles

Lions skate past Monroe Township; gear up for conference tournament

The Middletown North High School hockey team is finding its stride on the ice with the 2022-23 postseason...

Eagles soar to six-game win streak with 57-52 victory over Colts Neck

MIDDLETOWN — There was no panic among the members of the Middletown South High School boys basketball team...

Lions defeat rival Eagles, 40-27, in Middletown wrestling showdown

MIDDLETOWN — The latest chapter on the mat between the Middletown North High School and Middletown South High...

Middletown South graduate Cranwell takes reins as Eagles’ coach

MIDDLETOWN — There has been a changing of the guard for the Middletown South High School girls basketball...