Monday, June 17
More
    - Advertisment -

    A youth movement is underway in Conneaut but don’t count the Spartans out this season.

    Despite a lot of new—and young faces—in the lineup, head coach Lexi Zappitelli is eager to see what her squad can achieve this spring.

    “It will be a learning year for us,” Zappitelli said. “We only have three returning lettermen from last season and currently have zero seniors. We have a very young, hardworking group of girls, so I am very excited to see our growth throughout the season.”

    Zappitelli expects some growing pains, but she’s also counting on her players rising to the challenge this spring as they gain more experience and the confidence that comes with it.

    “Overall, looking at what I have returning and what is being added to the varsity squad, I am expecting at first a very young inexperienced team,” she said. “However, I am expecting us to grow towards the end of the season which will help us out next season when we lose nobody on our roster and only keep adding.”

    The Spartans finished 6-10 last season but found a new home as they have joined the Chagrin Valley Conference Lake Division starting in the 2023-2024 school year.

    Playing old-time rivals could help the Spartans remain focused and inspired no matter what the season throws at them.

    “The biggest challenge we face this year is inexperience both offensively and defensively,” Zappitelli said. “I think we can overcome this by repetition and hard work. We have a very hardworking, coachable group which can lead to a lot of good things.”

    Zappitelli will lean on junior pitcher Lexi Brown a lot this season.

    Brown batted a team-best .444 with an on-base percentage of .527, also a team-high.

    “Lexi Brown is a returning letterman, who we are very excited to have back,” Zappitelli said. “Lexi helped lead our team both offensively and defensively last season. She was also our starting pitcher and led us to all of our victories. Last season, Lexi was selected to play in the Ohio Varsity underclassman game, along with being named to the All-YSN softball team. Lexi received Ashtabula County honors as well.”

    Junior first baseman Ella Boroski also is a returning letter winner Zappitelli will count on for consistency and leadership.

    “Ella is an amazing teammate who showed a ton of growth last season,” Zappitelli said. “Last year, she was voted on by the CHS coaching staff as our most improved player. Ella took on a role as our starting center fielder last season and did a phenomenal job. She ended the season with a batting average of .348 along with 13 RBI. She received honorable mention All-Ashtabula County last season.”

    Junior Ashlyn Sherman has the hot corner locked down. She’ll play third base again and will be counted on to create problems for opposing pitchers with her .522 on-base percentage.

    “Ashlyn Sherman is another returning letterman that we are very excited to have,” Zappitelli said. “Ashlyn has always been a big help to us both offensively and defensively. One of the greatest things about Ashlyn is that she is a utility player. She is able to play infield, outfield, and catcher, and performs very well wherever we need her to play. I am excited to see her growth this season as well.”

    Junior Bella Fix will play left field, freshman Grace Todaro will catch, and freshman Maddy Drew will play shortstop.

    Drew already has impressed the Conneaut coaching staff.

    “Maddy Drew is a new addition that we are very excited to have,” Zappitelli said. “She will be our starting shortstop and has earned that spot within just a few short weeks. She is an extremely hardworking, coachable, talented young lady who has a ton of potential. She has a very high IQ for the game and is a natural leader when it comes to communication on the field.”

    Freshman Vina Sanford will compete with sophomores Kylee Sherman and Olivia Whitbread for playing time at second base, and sophomore Alyssa McFadden and junior Kylie Taylor will do the same in left field. Sophomore Avery O’Brien and freshmen Jenna Herd and Rylie Mooney round out the projected starting lineup with their competition for innings in right field.

    Brown, McFadden, freshman LeAnn Zimmerman, Whitbread, and freshman Chloe Boyle will provide depth in the circle.

    “We are planning on having a large rotation of our young pitchers when we need to give Lexi a break or switch it up,” Zappitelli said. “We are excited to give them the varsity pitching experience they will need to develop as young pitchers.”

    Conneaut will lean on that deep pitching staff, as well as its overall team speed, to keep the Spartans in games this season.

    “Our team strength would be pitching and speed,” Zappitelli said. “Lexi Brown is our returning starting pitcher who has been very consistent for us in the past. We are hoping she carries our defense. I also think we have some young girls who have a lot of speed, that we can hopefully develop on the basepaths.”

     

     

    Steve Hare
    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, 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 IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com 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.
    -Advertisement-

    Most Read

    Independence adds three to Hall of Fame

    Independence on Friday will announce the three most recent additions to its Athletics Hall of Fame.