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Lady Cardinals hoping to come back in 2020

March 25, 2020
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

The 2019 season for the Canfield softball team was a chaotic one to say the least.

The usually indestructible Lady Cardinals stumbled down the stretch of the season and finished below .500 for the first time in many years. They were then unceremoniously eliminated in the Division I Solon sectional finals by rival Boardman. All of that led to the dismissal of veteran head coach Ray Melewski. Enter longtime Canfield administrator Erin Angelo. She has spent 30 years associated with Canfield schools and was an assistant to Canfield's former ultra-successful head coach Ronnie Haurin. Angelo also coaches volleyball at the middle school. In a recent conversation with her husband and current assistant Joe Angelo, he discussed how many people in the Canfield community appreciate how much work Erin has done for the kids.

"(Erin) is well respected," said Joe. "We're thankful to be involved."

Coach Angelo is also thankful for the two seniors that are returning to the roster in 2020. Outfielder Aiden Orlovsky and pitcher Madi Kelly are the cornerstones of Canfield's lineup and will be counted upon to contribute on the diamond and in the dugout.

"These young ladies are smart leaders both on and off the field," Angelo said.

Orlovsky should spend a lot of time in the middle of Angelo's lineup while Kelly is a left-handed hurler who will work many innings inside the pitching circle.

"If we had a number one starter, Madi would be it," said Angelo about his senior slinger.

The reason why Angelo didn't anoint Kelly as his ace is because he feels the best part of his squad is the vast number of players that can fire the softball.

"One of our strengths is pitching," said the coach. "We're very deep. A lot of girls will get innings. We will choose from who will be most effective in the match up we have. We also have a couple of freshmen pitchers we like."

Those freshmen throwers that Angelo alluded to are Bella Kennedy and Mia Opalick. Some of the other Cardinals who should all see time on the hill are juniors Liz Ferraro and Lauren Fitzgerald, sophomores Bayann Jadallah and Jackie Kinnick. Just like with his pitching, Angelo has a bevy of backstops he can call upon to catch those pitches. Juniors Sarah Ferraro and Kylie Ciccolelli, sophomore Bridgett Kelly and freshman Carlie Harmon will all share time behind the plate. All of these young ladies will add to the second biggest strength of this Canfield club and that is a high-octane offense.

"We expect to drive in runs," said Angelo. "We have speed and a lot of girls that can hit."

Something that the Cardinals are lacking is solid defense. Many of these girls can play multiple positions, but while that versatility may seem helpful, it sometimes lends to leaky fielding.

"Defense is something we're working on," Angelo said. "We may have some trouble picking up the ball."

The coach won't have trouble getting a lot of younger kids the experience they need to keep the Cardinals in contention for years to come. Besides the aforementioned Harmon, Kennedy and Opalick, Canfield has freshmen Emma Campbell, Hailey Freedy, Mackenzie Koenig, Hayden Merritt, Taylor Morrison, Gianna Pannunzio and Cara Spencer on the roster.

"We're pretty lean in total numbers, but we're building for the future especially with our freshman," said Angelo.

Hopefully the future of this season isn't too far down the road. Due to the recent national events, no schools are allowed to even take the field until at least early April. All road trips, including, Canfield's annual jaunt to Myrtle Beach have been cancelled. It makes everything very fluid for all teams.

"I'm worried about the long term impact of the season," said Angelo. "I feel (sorry) for the seniors."

When the Cards do take the field, they'll be battling inside Division II instead of Division I as they have been lately. That means they'll encounter local stalwarts Ursuline and Cardinal Mooney and nemesis Poland in the playoffs. Before the tournament commences, Canfield will be chasing down defending conference champion Fitch and Boardman in the All American Conference.

"Fitch and Boardman will be tough just like they are every year," Angelo said. "The district will be a difficult challenge this year with some very tough teams."

 
 

 

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