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    Cuyahoga Heights enters the 2024 season with many new faces in the lineup, but the Red Wolves haven’t adjusted their expectations.

    After graduating nine seniors, the Red Wolves return just four starters from last year’s squad that finished 16-8 and earned a share of a third consecutive Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division title with league rival Independence.

    “It is never easy when you graduate nine seniors,” said Cuyahoga Heights coach Kyle Manfredonia. “However, we are choosing to ball out with the girls who are committed to this team. The only expectations I have for my girls is for them to go out and give 100 percent each practice and each game, to support their teammates and be there for each other; that every drill and every play is done with purpose. They want their third straight conference championship and to make a deep run in the playoffs.”

    Manfredonia is confident his players understand their situation and are ready to shine this spring.

    “Our seniors, juniors, and sophomores have grown tremendously since last season,” he said. “The incoming freshmen have shown that they have the ability to make huge impacts in our games right away. The four seniors have been waiting to play their senior year and put their own mark in their final year with the program.”

    The Red Wolves will face their fair share of adversity this season.

    With a limited roster, the Red Wolves can’t afford any sustained injuries and are training accordingly.

    “With having the lowest numbers in the program since I’ve been here, we really need to stay healthy,” Manfredonia said. “We have to prepare the right way in order to keep their bodies and minds running at a high level throughout the season.”

    Seniors Maddie Dopson, Shai Moore, and Riley Casey are among Cuyahoga Heights’ most experienced players.

    Dopson, a first baseman, was a second-team All-CVC and second-team all-county honoree last spring.

    “Maddie has been such a relief at first base her whole career,” Manfredonia said. “Her ability to make plays at first for her team has been one of the best I’ve seen. She is going to be a threat on both sides of the plate.”

    Moore, a third baseman who has already committed to Penn State-New Kensington, was named first-team All-CVC and all-county and honorable mention all-district.

    “Shai has been such a powerhouse at the plate,” Manfredonia said. “She has incredible patience and a powerful swing. Anyone pitching to her should be concerned and I know she is going to have a huge senior season.”

    Casey, a center fielder, earned honorable mention All-CVC honors last spring.

    “Riley is going to be the leader in the outfield,” Manfredonia said. “She has made a huge transformation this year and she is going to have her best season yet going into her senior year.”

    Juniors Addison Bohning, Skylar Sane, and Luci Ross will play shortstop, left field, and right field, respectively.

    “These girls are getting their first taste of varsity softball, but they have earned it,” Manfredonia said. “They have been working hard the last two years and I am excited to see how they produce this season.”

    Freshmen Giada Presot and Ally Williams will make their varsity debuts at catcher and second base, respectively.

    “The freshmen really showed how valuable they are going to be for this team,” Manfredonia said. “They’ve waited a long time for this moment and I know they are going to step up and take this team to the next level.”

    Senior Georgia Kattler returns in the circle for the Red Wolves after earning second-team All-CVC honors last spring. Sane will provide relief.

    “Going into her senior season it is her time to take on the No. 1 role,” Manfredonia said. “I am excited for her because she has been waiting for this for a long time. She has put the time and work in, and I can’t wait to see what she does this season.”

    Overall, the Red Wolves bring a lot of power and consistency to the plate, and on defense, they’ll play aggressively to minimize extra-base hits.

    “We have a lot of strong bats in our lineup,” Manfredonia said. “We have plenty of options of how we want to attack offensively and are very capable of playing small ball when we need to or letting the ball fly. Defensively, we are going to be aggressive and attack everything that comes our way.”

     

     

     

    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.
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