As a new softball season nears, Wayne Hills High coach Rayna Caruso is optimistic about her team’s chances, with some outstanding seniors and a young core of talented players.
Wayne Hills began practice on March 2, but the bad weather has limited the team, in getting outdoors for practice and scrimmages. Four scrimmages were already canceled and the Patriots weren’t scheduled to play its first tune up until March 19, when the team hosts Montclair, at 4 p.m. Scrimmages at Westwood (March 20, 4:15 p.m.), Hawthorne (March 21, 4:15 p.m.) and Kearny (March 24, noon) follow.
The regular season opener is set for April 2, with a tough game, at DePaul, starting at 4:15 p.m. The first home game is on April 4, when Lakeland visits, also at 4:15 p.m.
The beginning of practice has been tough, according to Caruso.
“We practiced once outside,” said Caruso. “We’re hoping to get outside and start scrimmaging soon. The weather will decide that.”
Caruso’s assistant coach is Carly Soojian, a former player at Wayne Hills.
Entering this week, the Patriots only had practice four times. There are four returning players in senior catcher Jenna Maguire, senior outfielders Amanda Carey, and Lindsey Mahler, and junior pitcher Victoria DiDonato.
“We lost our entire infield, but we are looking hopeful with a few returners and talented freshmen,” said Caruso.
Maguire, who will attend the University of Alabama this fall, was honored at Seton Hall University, during the National Girls and Women in Sports Day, this past Feb. 4, being named Wayne Hills’ recipient at the banquet. In addition to being a standout softball player, Maguire, the youngest daughter of Lia and Robert Maguire, was also a cheerleading captain for the Patriots this past fall and cheered for four years for Hills.
On the softball diamond, Maguire had a tremendous season last year for Hills, hitting .528, with six homers and 33 RBI. Behind the plate, she threw out eight base runners and picked off two others. Jenna has a career batting average of .491 and has driven in 71 runs. Maguire was Wayne Hills’ Offensive Player of the Year, in 2017, as well as a First Team, All-County and All-Big North player last season. She was also a second team, All-North Jersey player a year ago.
In addition, Maguire has played club ball for the NJ Sparks and Wayne Wildcats, in both the summer and fall. In the classroom, she’s been a member of the Student Council, Future Business Leaders of America and Students Against Destructive Decisions.