In 2017, Marlboro High School enjoyed the best softball season in program history.
The Mustangs finished 17-6 and advanced to the quarterfinals of both the Shore Conference Tournament and the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 sectional tournament.
Seven seniors graduated after that season. Marlboro coach Nick Scalzo was not sure what to expect in 2018.
“But we didn’t skip a beat,” he said.
Marlboro posted a 14-9 record and reached the second round of the Shore Conference Tournament and the quarterfinals of the Central Jersey, Group 4 state sectional bracket.
The Mustangs fell to Red Bank Catholic High School, 3-2, in the conference field and South Brunswick High School, 2-1, in the state quarters.
Seven seniors are back from that team. Most are multi year starters. Marlboro will open its season with a road game on March 29 at Matawan Regional High School.
Scalzo expects it to be the start of something.
“The outlook is good,” he said.
Marlboro scored more than six runs per game last spring, and most of the big hitters are back.
Seniors Jody Thomas, Madison Rallis and Kayleigh Ferraro hit .388, .375 and .333 last year, respectively. Rallis also drove in 13 runs.
“They set the table and were a huge part of our success,” Scalzo said.
Thomas and Ferraro are both committed to play collegiate softball, too. Thomas is going to Georgian Court University in Lakewood. Ferraro will attend DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa.
“I have big expectations for them,” Scalzo said. “They set the tone for our program.”
The rest of the lineup is also formidable. It includes returning starters, like first baseman Nicole Santigate, and promising freshmen, like outfielder Marissa Kramer.
But Marlboro will be more than just an offensive force. It also has two strong pitchers in Alexandra Cavallaro and Jayna Kramsky.
Scalzo is confident in Cavallaro, an experienced varsity hurler.
“She should keep us in every game,” he said. “She does a real nice job.”
Marlboro is strong across its roster. The Mustangs have never made it past the Shore Conference or state sectional quarterfinals. This could be the year.
“If this team plays the way it’s capable of playing, we can make a nice run,” Scalzo said.