Saturday, May 27
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    The 2023 Ohio Varsity Freshman of the Year award will be presented at the Ohio Varsity All-Star Classic on June 22.

    Listed below are each of the finalists in alphabetical order.


    Gabi DadanteDadante, a left fielder, batted .414 in her debut season with the Cardinals.

    She recorded 24 hits in 58 at-bats with three doubles, a triple, and 14 runs batted in. She posted a .900 fielding percentage with 18 putouts and just two errors.

    “Gabi came in as a freshman and made an immediate impact,” said Mentor coach Jo Bondra. “To have these stats as a freshman against the schedule we played is a true testament to the athlete she is.”


    Maggie GrantThe Cardinal Huskies this spring more than doubled their win total from last season and that was in large part due to the play of Grant, who pitched and played third base.

    Grant batted .365 (19-for-52) with five doubles, a triple, three home runs, and 10 RBI.

    All five of Cardinal’s wins came with Grant in the circle. She finished the season 5-12 with a 3.59 ERA. She allowed 46 earned runs on 94 hits with an opponent’s batting average of .223. She struck out 145 batters and allowed just 62 walks in 89 2/3 innings of work.

    She also posted a .930 fielding percentage with 16 putouts, 24 assists, and just three errors.

    “There’s only so much you can say about our freshman pitcher, Maggie Grant,” said Cardinal coach Haley Adams. “As soon as she started training in February, we knew she was going to be something extremely special and a great addition to our team. Maggie is one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached, in terms of always expecting perfection from herself. She put a lot of pressure on herself as a freshman and expected so much.

    “At times, this could hurt Maggie, but she grew into an extremely strong leader by the end of the season. One of my favorite memories from this season was Maggie striking out Berkshire’s leadoff batter with bases loaded, and the game tied at one. That play was huge for Maggie as a freshman to build confidence in herself, but for her teammates as well. Maggie could also rake the softball in the batter’s box. She recorded three home runs on the year, striking out just five times for 52 at-bats. She led the team with 24 stolen bases on the year. As one of our top hitters, Maggie was placed second in the lineup, due to her strong on-base percentage. We are excited to add important pieces to our puzzle this upcoming season to help Maggie on the mound. This young team has a lot of potential and truthfully, it starts with Maggie in the circle.”


    Clara GranchiGranchi did it all for the Beavers this spring as she batted .453 and posted a 2.06 ERA in the circle.

    In the batter’s box, Granchi recorded 43 hits in 95 at-bats with three doubles, four triples, three home runs, and 28 RBI.

    She finished the season 12-4 in the circle. She allowed 29 earned runs on 87 hits with an opponent’s batting average of .225 with 121 strikeouts to just 11 walks in 98 1/3 innings.

    The pitcher/first baseman recorded a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with 58 putouts and 23 assists and zero errors.

    “Clara was equally as impressive as a pitcher and as a hitter,” said Riverside coach Bill Ross. “She locked down the leadoff spot for us. I can’t remember a freshman having a bigger impact on Riverside softball in all my time here.”


    Alex MouldMould, the 2023 Crown Conference Pitcher of the Year, had an impressive debut season for the Lions.

    In the circle, she finished the year 12-5 with a 2.17 ERA. She allowed 28 earned runs on 76 hits with an opponent’s batting average of .216. She struck out 116 batters to just 36 walks in 90 innings of work.

    At the plate, she recorded four hits in 11 at-bats (.364) with a triple and an RBI.

    Mould recorded a .971 fielding percentage with 35 putouts and 24 assists to just one error.

    “Alex has grown and matured this year into her role as the starting pitcher for NDCL,” said NDCL coach Tiger Alexander. “Alex not only has a strong presence in the circle when pitching, but she also defends her position exceptionally. Her successes in the circle have propelled our program to a season-high in wins this year and to our second consecutive sectional championship.”



    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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