Monday, June 17
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    South’s softball team has a new coach and a lot of new faces in the lineup heading into the 2024 season.

    The Rebels, who finished 14-10 overall and 7-5 in the Western Reserve Conference, have been working hard under new head coach Jeff Morganti, who previously served as the head coach at Lakeland Community College and an assistant at Ursuline College, along with a stint as the head coach at rival North where he recorded a 125-72 record from 2003-2009 and won three Premier Athletic Conference titles.

    “We’re very pleased with our players’ attention to detail during the teaching process,” Morganti said. “Our players have been receptive to new ideas with a heavy emphasis on game situations. They come to learn and see their improvement each day we practice. The Western Reserve Conference is challenging, and we need to come ready to play from the first pitch to the last one.”

    South’s returning starters include seniors Allyson Leskiewicz and Makenna Owens, juniors Summer Bliss, Linell Dichazy, and Cheyenne Patton, and sophomore Halle Zupancic.

    Leskiewicz will play first base, Owens will patrol center field after playing right last spring, Bliss will catch, Dichazy will serve as one of the team’s designated players, Patton moved from second base last season to shortstop, and Zupancic will play third and pitch.

    Returning letter winners Isabella Andow, Savannah Jolly, and Taylor Zupancic round out the projected starting lineup.

    Andow is a senior left fielder, Jolly is a sophomore second baseman, and Zupancic is a senior right fielder.

    Freshman Violet Dichazy will pitch while classmate Addy Matriano will provide the Rebels with outfield depth along with senior Bella Hostutler, a move-in who starred at Kirtland the past couple of seasons.

    “We have some returning players learning new positions,” Morganti said. “How quickly they adapt is important. We are counting on some reserves from last year’s team getting the chance to play and contribute. Getting outside and playing preseason games will help their development.”

    Morganti will lean on his returning players to continue developing the culture he’s looking to instill in his program.

    “Our team chemistry, work ethic, and paying attention to detail have been really good in the early going,” he said. “We have put our players in many game-like situations where they need to make quick decisions.”

    If the Rebels can generate a consistent offense and minimize the mistakes on defense to support their pitchers, their goals are well within reach this spring.

    “The goal for every team is to compete to win a conference championship and win in the tournament,” Morganti said. “Chardon and Riverside are successful programs and will be the teams to beat. North will be very good this season as it returns its entire roster. We have a good core group of returning players and some young players who we expect to contribute. We want to be in that conversation with Chardon, Riverside, and North.”




    Steve Hare
    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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