Softball Preview: Graziano leads Riverhead on the mound

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Riverhead pitcher Amanda Graziano returns to lead the Blue Waves on the mound this season.

A softball team may not need an army of arms like in baseball, but it never hurts to have more than one capable pitcher.

The Riverhead Blue Waves (9-10 last year) return their No. 1 pitcher from last year in junior Amanda Graziano, while also adding in sophomore Stephanie Falisi.

“It’s definitely good to have two pitchers,” said Riverhead coach Bob Fox, who enters his 12th season with the Blue Waves. “You never know what’s going to happen over the course of a season.”

Graziano has thrown the team’s first three scrimmages and Fox said he’ll get a better idea of how she’s throwing after a few more scrimmages. “It looks like she’s throwing pretty well,” he said.

Falisi, who can also play first base, has been limited to start the season with an injury, so Fox said he was hoping to get her back in the mix this week.

One thing’s for certain: each pitcher will be throwing to all-conference catcher Megan Weiss. She caught nearly every inning last year as a sophomore. This season she’ll have sophomore Sarah Freeborn backing her up. Freeborn will play third base when not filling in for Weiss behind the plate.

Fox said Weiss and Graziano play together during the summer and have developed a good rapport on the field.

“They work very well together,” Fox said.

Anchoring the middle infield for Riverhead is junior shortstop Alex McKillop. She was an all-league player last year. Both her and Weiss batted over .400 last season, Fox said.

To start the season the Blue Waves are looking at sophomore second baseman Sara Tucci, who played on the varsity last year as a ninth-grader. At first base the Blue Waves return senior Amanda Cummins, who missed most of last season with an injury.

In the outfield the Blue Waves welcomed back two members of the Long Island champion basketball team in seniors Mariah Messina and Allison Doscinski. Senior Brittney Baron will also play in the outfield.

“We have a bunch of kids that can play outfield,” Fox said.

Freshman Joscelin Morrow can play both the infield or outfield. Corinne Kimmelman will the play the outfield along with Heather Zilnicki and Christina Sacchitello.

The Blue Waves open the league season Tuesday at home against Deer Park.

After a rebuilding year last season, Fox was confident the team was to take a step forward.

“We should have a better team,” he said. “We should be competitive.”

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