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May 10, 2022

Brookdale Softball Team Hungry for Region Championship

By Tim Morris

Gianna Praet’s pitching has helped Brookdale Community College’s women’s softball team remain one of the teams to beat in Region 19. Photo by Tom Smith

After a year’s absence from conference play, the Brookdale Community College women’s softball team is back in full force. Just as if that year away from playing for high stakes in conference games never happened, Brookdale is again in a familiar position, contending for a championship and nationally ranked. That year away from conference play was not completely lost.

“What happened is that we went club [last spring] and built on that,” Head Coach Thomas “Bo” Scannapieco said. “We came back and had a normal fall season.”

Scannapieco – who has made Brookdale softball a national power over the years, winning three National Junior College Athletic Association national championships – saw enough between club and fall ball to know he had some talented players who could make BCC competitive. The team’s current No. 7 national ranking is proof of that.

“We have a good pitching staff,” said the Hall of Fame coach who has delivered 19 Region titles to BCC. “We have a good lineup and good defense behind them. We have the talent to make noise in the Region. Depth is my biggest concern. As long as we stay healthy, we’ll be fine.”

If the Blues can avoid injuries, quality can win over quantity.

Making the case for Brookdale, which started the season 13-3 but undefeated in Region 19 and Garden State Athletic Association play, is its pitching led by Freehold Borough grad Gianna Praet, who has the potential to be the ace a championship contender requires. The freshman is 8-1 and pitching to a 1.43 ERA. She has 66 strikeouts in 49 innings of work. She has completed all eight of her starts, including a perfect game against Rowan College South Jersey-Cumberland, which earned her GSAC Player of the Week honors. The ex-Colonial has one win in relief.

“Gianna is a bulldog of a kid,” said Scannapieco. “She has added a very good screwball and has a good change-up. She sequences her pitches well and has good control. She’s a cut above the rest in the Region.”

Middletown North grad Adriana Noterile is 4-2 in her six starts and has five complete games. Charlotte Piper (Manalapan) is 1-0 in her only start and will see more innings in the circle when the double-headers add up.

The Blues have lost 10 games to the weather which will have to be made up, making a three-pitcher rotation important.

Brookdale’s lineup has been explosive but also balanced.

“We’ve had seven different kids hit home runs, and we have some speed,” Scannapieco pointed out.

The speed is a reminder that the Blues don’t have to hit the ball over the fence to score runs. They can play small ball as well.

Alyssa Sigler (Middletown North) and Nicolette Pavlik (Holmdel) have been Brookdale’s power brokers. Sigler has an outstanding slugging percentage of .966 thanks to six doubles, three triples and five home runs. She has 22 RBI, 22 runs scored and is batting .433. Pavlik has four home runs and five doubles. The former Hornet has 19 RBI, batting .481.

Piper is hitting .472 with nine doubles and 15 runs scored. Zoey Hagan (Henry Hudson) is at .411 with 16 RBI and a trio of home runs. Praet has helped with the bat as well. She is second on the team in runs scored (20) and is batting .417. Noterile has also been versatile, batting .471 and driving in 12 runs.

Brookdale will seek its 20th Region championship this May at host Rowan College South Jersey-Cumberland, the defending champions.