2016 New York Preseason Softball Fab 5, presented by the Army National Guard
1. Shenendehowa (Clifton Park)
Debut seasons don't get much better than the one Farquharson enjoyed at Shenendehowa last year. Granted, Farquharson took over a team that went 18-3 in 2014 and advanced to the sectional semifinals. Farquharson, who had guided Shen's JV program the previous 14 seasons, led the Plainsmen to the Section 2 title on a team that had eight starters who were either juniors or sophomores and had just two seniors on the roster. Pitcher Abby Shields
enjoyed a dominant junior season and came up especially big in the playoffs, including a 7-0 win over Shaker in the sectional final.See last season's New York softball computer rankings2. Clarkstown South (West Nyack)
The Vikings were this close to advancing to the Class AA state final last season, falling to eventual state champion Orchard Park 9-6 in the semis. The graduation loss of star shortstop Karly Fishkin (now at Skidmore College) and pitcher Briana Keaveney (Cortland State) will be tough to overcome for the Vikings. But senior Sara Herskowitz
may be the best catcher in the Hudson Valley. Look for senior Gabby Palumbo
to have a big year as well.See New York softball pro photo galleries3. St. Anthony's (Melville)
The Friars came up just short of a first state title, falling to Archbishop Molloy 3-1 in the CHSAA championship game. St. Anthony's got that far by winning its first league title since 1997 by downing three-time champ Kellenberg 4-3. Back for more is a strong nucleus that includes seniors Lauren Russell
(second base), Lexi Reale
(shortstop) and Gabby Puglia
(first base). CHSAA pitcher of the year Gabby Marcheschi has moved on to Western New England and hard-hitting third baseman Kim Puzo to Union College.See last season's New York softball playoff brackets4. Orchard Park
Brittany Bonetto, Josh Dannecker
Brittany Bonetto has experienced success with Orchard Park's girls softball program as both a player and now, as co-head coach (with Josh Dannecker). A convincing 11-2 win over Liverpool capped an impressive run to the Class AA state championship for Orchard Park, which won a Section 6 title for the first time since Bonetto was a varsity player. She graduated from OP in 2004 before going on to play at both St. Bonaventure and Canisius. Orchard Park will be minus six key seniors from last year's team, including Katie Weimer, an explosive offensive performer now playing at the University of Buffalo. But the Quakers do have a strong group of returnees and some promising newcomers.See last season's New York softball stat leaders
Brewster's perfect season ended with an 8-6 loss to Pearl River in the Section 1 Class A championship game.
The Bears have suffered significant graduation losses, including star pitcher Jenna Sacchetti, but do have a strong core of returning players. Star shortstop Kelly Dovi
is a versatile player who should also emerge as team leader both on and off the field. As a sophomore, she earned all-section and all-league honors, with a .553 batting average, .602 on-base percentage and .847 slugging average. The Bears' leadoff hitter, she scored 41 runs. Defensively, she also sparked the squad.Multimedia news and sports editor and producer Joe Lombardi is director of media initiatives and managing editor of DailyVoice.com, as well as Media Director/Co-Partner of LaxLessons.com.Follow Joe on Twitter @Joe_Lombardi.