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Valhalla Softball Takes Aim at Fourth Title

VALHALLA, N.Y. -- Maddy DeMilio and many of her Valhalla senior teammates have experienced nothing but championship softball seasons.

In her three years on the Valhalla varsity softball team, DeMilio has been a member of three Section 1 title teams. In 2009 and ‘10, Valhalla won the Class C championship and last year moved up a class and won the B title. Valhalla would like nothing better than to add a fourth consecutive championship. Three days into preseason, DeMilio is anxiously awaiting for the first pitch.

“Winning for three years has been amazing,” said DeMilio, a captain, along with seniors Jade Fumarelli and Danielle Maffei. “We have to focus on this year, though, and put the past behind us.”

Valhalla graduated seven seniors, including five starters, last June. The three captains and freshman Brandi Coon, the starting second baseman last year, return and will have a new group of starters alongside. One of these new starters is freshman Syndi Holtz, who steps into the circle, replacing Alex Kinnally. DiMilio has already taken Holtz under her guidance.

“We are getting our bonding down, like Alex and I had,” said DeMilio, during a break in batting practice Wednesday. “It’s going to be a little different at first because she has to get used to how I catch and I have to get used to how she pitches.”

DeMilio, Fumarelli (centerfield) and Maffei (leftfield) are working with all of the new players as unofficial assistant coaches.

“We will take the younger players off to the side and show them, by example, what Coach Hayes wants them to do,” DeMilio said.

Valhalla coach John Hayes is not taking it easy on his team this season when it comes to scheduling. DeMilio pointed out that Valhalla has a tough schedule, once again, but the team does not mind.

“We love the challenge because when you play against tougher competition it’s only going to make you a better player and better team,” DeMilio said. “We have to take it one game at a time because we know there are many teams we have to beat before we start thinking about winning sectionals again.”

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