Name: WPBA 14U Girls Softball Team
Age: 14 and Under
School: Students from Hendrick Hudson, Lakeland, St. Augustine, St. Columbanus.
Accomplishment: Winning the Westchester Putnam Baseball Association 14 and under championship title
Key to Awesomeness: This was the team’s second title in three years, as it also won the 12-and-under title two years ago. Eighth-grader Gabby Caruso explained how the team helped her gain the experience she needed to become a mid-season call-up to the Hen Hud Varsity squad that made the Section 1 Class A Final Four this past spring. Her experience on the varsity included a win against cross-town rival Peekskill.
Caruso, whose idol is former Arizona National Champion, three-time All-American pitcher and Olympic Gold medalist Jennie Finch, said playing for Cortlandt this summer made her better prepared for the scholastic campaign this upcoming school year.
“Now and in the future I know what to look for,” Caruso said. “It had me playing even harder than I am used too and I learned what I have to do if I want to continue to get better.”
Caruso said she worked this summer on her mechanics and throwing the pitch called the “drop ball.”
That paid off for Caruso, who teamed with Shannon Karabaic, Ashley Whitson and Alexis Velardi to form a solid pitching staff. In 15 games, Cortlandt only allowed 51 runs while scoring 193.
Amy Glashoff, an incoming freshman at Hen Hud, was one of three Cortlandt players who were called up during the sectionals for the Sailors. Alyssa Small and Maria Ferraioli were also called.
Glashoff said playing for Cortlandt this summer was vital in her development toward being a varsity player, saying she learned to become a better fielder.
“It’s important to play during the summer because it keeps you practicing and playing,” Glashoff said. “You need to play during the summer if you want to stay on the varsity.”
Glashoff played shortstop for a Cortlandt squad whose infield defense was virtually error-less. Joining her was Ferraioli at third, Small and Lindsay Pelaccio at second and Katelyn Ryan at first.
“We focused on what we had to do to win this season,” said Pelaccio, who also played on Hen Hud’s JV team. “Our defense was especially good.”
They especially made an impression on Hen Hud coach Kurt Thomas, according to Cortlandt coach Kurt Pelaccio.
“Kurt came to a game or two to watch the girls, knowing that most of these girls he would be coaching in the next couple of years,” Kurt Pelaccio said. “He was impressed. We opened it up to all of the Town of Cortlandt but we seem to get more Hen Hud kids than anywhere else.”
“It’s great to have them at this young age playing together,” Kurt Pelaccio continued. “On the same note, the girls from Hen Hud get along with the girls from the other schools. There is no separation between the girls from the Lakeland school disctrict, St. Augustine or St. Columbanus.”