Newbies fill in the middle of GHS softball squad

By Janice Steinhagen- Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Tue., Mar. 27, 2012
Junior outfielder Lindsay Murphy runs to first during practice for Griswold softball. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Junior outfielder Lindsay Murphy runs to first during practice for Griswold softball. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Last June’s graduation marched right up the middle of the Wolverine softball field, taking out all but one of coach Rick Arremony’s veteran players.

“We’re rebuilding our team,” said Arremony, who is in his 11th year at the helm of the Griswold High School softball squad. “It’s going to be a totally new look.”

Among the notable losses were catcher Nina Wojtkiewicz, who’s now on the squad at Western Connecticut State University, and centerfielder Jess Synott. Both players were named to the All-State team. Jessy Bouchard, a shortstop who was named All-League, and outfielders Alexa Ondreicka and Brianna Gosselin were also lost to commencement.

With gaps at catcher, shortstop, second base, center and right field, “most of these positions will be filled by sophomores,” Arremony said. “We have five new starting varsity players.” The heart of the diamond – sophomore pitcher Kirsten Drobiak – is returning, as are seniors Samantha Rentz and first baseman Taylor Dansereau. Drobiak and Dansereau are the only players returning to their familiar field positions; Rentz is moving from third base to shortstop. Also returning are juniors Emily Slonski, moving from left to center field, and Lindsay Murphy in outfield.

Arremony said he’s grooming Dansereau and sophomore Kaitlyn Niles as back-up pitchers, even though Drobiak “could pitch every inning of every game if everything goes as planned.” Niles and Dansereau will be held in reserve for emergency purposes and may get the chance to see some action on the mound as the season progresses.

Arremony said that he’s counting on his pair of seniors to build the team’s leadership. “They’re good ballplayers,” he said.

“We have a spirited young group,” said Arremony. With a week of practice and a weekend scrimmage double-header under their belts, “It looks like they’re prepared to work hard,” the coach said. “We’ll grow and get better as the year goes on.”

The season opens against defending Class S champions Hale-Ray on April 3 at home. Before the first pitch, the team will dedicate a pavilion to longtime Wolverine softball boosters John Arremony, father of the coach, and Stanley Drobiak, former Jewett City burgess and grandfather of Kirsten.

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