Steinert Softball Pitcher Isabella Bonacci is our CVC Player of the Year – Trentonian
Mercer County’s top two softball teams this year were Steinert and Notre Dame, so it’s no surprise they lead the Trentonian All-Colonial Valley Conference teams with three players apiece.
As for top individual honors, state runner-up and county champion Steinert was swept with Isabella Bonacci the player of the year selection and Jenn Melker the coach of the year selection.
Notre Dame’s hard-throwing right continued to cement her status as one of the best pitchers in the entire region in her second season. Michalak struck out 198 batters CVC while posting a 1.52 ERA in 115 innings pitched. Among his best efforts was a 3-1 loss to Parochial A state champion Donovan Catholic. She also contributed at home plate with an average of .378 for a Notre Dame team that went 19-5 and advanced to the South Jersey semifinal.
No CVC team did the job like state runner-up Steinert this year and the team’s most visible star was that junior pitcher and cleanup hitter. Bonacci struck out 139 in 115 innings and threw a 1.77 ERA. A first baseman when she wasn’t throwing, Bonacci hit .392 with 29 hits, including four home runs, and had the second-most RBIs with 25. What really sets her apart isn’t so much her stats, but rather its ability to beat quality. teams in the biggest matches of the year.
Arguably the CVC’s first defensive receiver with a strong, gifted arm for framing throws, Cornish-DiDonato continued to excel in his second season for Hopewell Valley and made it a tough run on the Valley Girls. Her batting average was .356 and she batted in 23 runs.
One of only two seniors in Notre Dame’s starting lineup, Andrusiewicz was an excellent first baseman and the most feared hitter in Notre Dame’s lineup. Andrusiewicz led the team with 36 hits, hit .480 and also easily had the most RBIs on the team with 30.
Allentown had another solid season with a 14-6 record and this senior first baseman/pitcher was a big part of that success. Mushinski led the Redbirds with 34 hits and hit a solid .548. Of those 34 hits, 10 were for extra bases and she also led the team in RBIs with 21 and runs scored with 24.
Anyone who has seen this talented student can easily imagine Division 1 softball in her future. Logan anchored the Allentown infield at shortstop and was dynamite at the start as she combined speed and power. She batted over .400 with nine extra hits. Logan easily led the Redbirds with 13 stolen bases.
An unusual four-year starter at Steinert and even more impressive in all those years he was at shortstop, Kontura reached second in the Spartan order and consistently delivered for the county and league champion. . Kontura led the team in three offensive categories with 35 hits, 36 runs scored and 34 RBIs. Steinert has only started two seniors at the end of the year and replacing Kontura will clearly be his biggest off-season challenge.
Junior Steinert struck third in the order and was at the center of a row of killers that included Kontura, Bonacci and Paige Schultz. O’Neal had some of the biggest hits of the year and had 31 in all while racking up the team’s second-most RBI with 29. Her batting average was .440 and she also played a strong third base.
After finishing second in the order at the start of the season, McColgan has become one of the best lead hitters in the region. Also an excellent outfielder due to her speed, the Notre Dame sophomore slapper hit .463 and along with fellow sophomore slapper Helen Woloshyn was a terror on bases with 26 stolen bases.
The sophomore outfielder from Hightstown has quickly established himself as one of the best table passers in the area. This year, Benitez had a team-high 36 hits, 22 runs scored and 17 RBIs. His final batting average was a very robust .581 for a team that posted an 11-7 record.
An excellent senior center defensive player with a strong arm and exceptional speed, Allex played a big part in Hopewell Valley’s much improved season over the previous year. Allex led Hopewell with 33 hits and had her team’s second most stolen base with 14. She also finished second in runs scored with 22.
The Hightstown senior catcher wrapped up a stellar high school career that included key home runs in the Rams’ march to the Group IV state championship in 2019. This year, Bell batted .410 with 17 RBIs and hit six homers. , including an absolute monster shot high in the trees of Notre Dame.
Our Coach of the Year who possesses a calm demeanor to go along with an upbeat confidence in his players, Melker guided Steinert to an outstanding 21-5 season that included a Colonial Valley Conference Colonial Division championship, a Mercer County tournament title and a spot in the Group III regional finals. And she did it with only two starting seniors in the lineup at the end of the season.
P Rylee Michalak Notre Dame So.; P Isabella Bonacci Steinert Jr.; C Izabelle Cornish-DiDonato Hopewell Valley So.; 1B Christa Andrusiewicz Notre Dame Sr.; 1B Kaylee Mushinski Allentown Sr.; SI Stella Logan Allentown So.; IF Avery Kontura Steinert Sr.; SI Ceara O’Neal Steinert Jr.; Of Ella McColgan Notre Dame So.; D’Angelina Benitez Hightstown So.; OF Mea Allex Hopewell Valley Sr.; DP Abby Bell Hightstown Sr.
Player of the Year – Isabella Bonacci (Steinert)
Coach of the Year – Jenn Melker (Steinert)
P Sam Shaw Hopewell Valley Sr.; C Kailey Pacifico Robbinsville Sr.; C Emily Gamboa Ewing Fr.; 1B Paige Schultz Steinert Jr.; SI Sofia Zangrilli Hopewell Valley Sr.; SI Helen Woloshyn Notre Dame So.; IF Sydney Busa Hightstown Sr.; IF Cierra Acevedo Hamilton Sr.; SI Alyana Giampolo Notre Dame S.; SI Haley Krebs Robbinsville So.; SI Katie Ciuffreda Lawrence Sr.; Of Olivia Sacco Allentown Sr.; Of Emma Marchese Notre Dame So.; U Julia Smith Ewing Jr.
ALLENTOWN: Skyler LaFisca (Sr., P), Emily Lohkamp (Sr., 3B); EWING: Abby Singer (Fr., P), Ameerah McMullen (Fr., IF), Amonnie Wertz (Fr., IF); HAMILTON: Arianna Acevedo (Jr., IF), HIGHSTOWN: Isabella Benitez (Sr., U); Marissa Caniano (Sr., OF), Kady Olsen (Fr., P); HOPEWELL VALLEY: Sarah Yancey (Sr., IF), Jenna Powers (So., IF); LAWRENCE: Paige Lamson (Sr., IF), Allison McGuire (Sr., C), Emma Dobkin (Fr., P); OUR LADY: Cara Mazzucco (So., OF); Victoria Delate (Sr., C); ROBBINSVILLE: Ava Goodman (Sr., OF), Shea Krebs (Sr., P), Katie Zilliani (So., P), Caroline Walls (So., OF); STEINERT: Makenna Spak (Jr., OF); WEST WINDSOR: Ruby Madia (Jr., C), Marissa Whitney (Sr., U), Kayla Krausse (So., P), Julia Dorfman (So., IF).