Belleville HS softball team enjoys banner season

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BELLEVILLE, NJ (updated with season stats, Tuesday June 20, 1:21 p.m.) – The Belleville High School varsity softball team enjoyed a banner season.

The Bucs, under head coach Chris Cantarella, won the Super Essex Conference-Colonial Division championship this season, going 7-0 in the division. Overall, the Bucs finished with a 12-10 record.

The Bucs were led by several players who made All-SEC-Colonial Division. They include:

First Team

  • Kaila Freid, pitcher.
  • Cherylann Nicosia, catcher.
  • Gianna Benacquista, infielder.
  • Jasmine Latorre, infielder.

Second Team

  • Jennifer Garrido, infielder.
  • Jehann Dabon, outfielder.
  • Kara Sica, open.

Honorable Mention

  • Luciana Gilfone

Cantarella was pleased to see his team’s hard work get rewarded during the past three or four months, and for some, during the course of their careers. “It is the first conference title in over 25 years and the girls should be very proud of this accomplishment,” Cantarella said. “We struggled down the stretch, losing to some very good teams – Nutley, Caldwell, Millburn, Saddle Brook and in our State game (against Ferris), but won two big games against Glen Ridge and MKA (Montclair Kimberley Academy) to close out the conference schedule, as well as a game against a good Scotch Plains-Fanwood team on Senior Day. I do believe we underachieved at times and didn’t execute as well as we should have, and a 16- to 17-win season was within our reach, but winning the conference takes a bit of the sting off that.”

Another highlight for the team was going 4-0 in doubleheaders this year, Cantarella said.

Individually, Benacquista, a senior, got her 100th hit of her career and was voted first team four years in a row.

Next season will be a challenging one. The team graduates a great deal of experience, losing six seniors, including 4, four-year starters. The Bucs have to replace three infielders and two pitchers.

“However, our JV and freshman teams each had great years and hoping that they can step up and make the necessary changes to improve their games,” said Cantarella. “We have a strong nucleus of girls coming back – Cherylann is a two-year starter behind the plate, and our outfield all returns, plus a handful of girls got some valuable experience this year.”

2017 notable Season Stats:

Gianna Benaquista: 22 games, .463 Batting Average, 38 hits (9 doubles, 4 triples), 30 RBI, 24 runs, 5 walks, .500 On-Base Average, .671 Slugging Average.

Agustina Garrido: 22 games, .404 BA, 23 hits (3 doubles, 2 triples), 9 RBI, 17 runs, 3 walks, .462 OBA, .526 SA.

Cherylann Nicosia: 22 games, .364 BA, 28 hits (4 doubles, 2 triples), 19 RBI, 23 runs, 11 walks, .440 OBA, .468 SA.

Jasmine Latorre: 22 games, .421 BA, 32 hits (2 doubles, 3 triples), 14 RBI, 29 runs, 19 walks, .537 OBA, .526 SA.

Jehann Dabon: 22 games, .333 BA, 19 hits (1 double, 3 triples), 14 RBI, 16 runs, 11 walks, .441 OBA, .456 SA.

Jennifer Garrido: 18 games, .324 BA, 12 hits (2 doubles), 10 RBI, 9 runs, 6 walks, .457 OBA, .378 SA.

Kaila Freid: 21 games, .366 BA, 26 hits (4 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run), 20 RBI, 15 runs, 5 walks, .427 OBA, .521 SA.

Kara Sica: 14 games, .400 BA, 16 hits (1 double), 17 RBI, 13 runs, 6 walks, .500 OBA, .425 SA.