Wildcats continue to develop

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Mayfield softball

Mayfield enters the 2018 season with several returning starters and still riding the wave of confidence the Wildcats gained from knocking off top-seeded South in a Division I sectional championship last spring.

Second-year head coach Pat McKinley hopes those returning players, along with several newcomers, can continue to grow and come together as a team.

“We return four senior starters with three sophomores in the infield anchored by Gabriella Monastero at shortstop and two sophomores in the outfield playing next to senior center fielder Lauren Irwin,” McKinley said. “Pitching depth will be a concern as sophomore Mia Tudini continues to develop.”

The Wildcats entered the postseason last spring as the No. 8 seed with a 6-12 record. They went on to beat Cleveland Heights in the sectional semifinals then stunned the No. 1 seeded Rebels, 8-6, to win the sectional championship.

Their season came to an end with a 5-4 loss to No. 4 Chardon in the Division I Mentor District semifinals.

Mayfield has five seniors total who McKinley will lean on to provide leadership to the younger members of the team this season.

Clara Graves will handle most of the pitching duties this spring with Tudini offering relief. Megan McNelly, a fourth-year varsity player, will start the season on the disabled list due to offseason knee surgery. Her return is questionable.

Monastero, a Lakeland Community College commitment, will be at shortstop and Kennedy Coffey, a three-year varsity player, will split the catching duties with Shannon Biega, another senior who was named the team’s Most Improved player last spring.

McKinley also expects sophomore infielder Julia Arrietta to make an impact this season. She can play third or second base.

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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.