Meet the top 26 high school softball players from the SouthCoast to watch in 2024 (2024)

Laurie Los LeeThe Standard-Times

With the return of 14 of the area’s top 23 softball players from a year ago, SouthCoast teams will feature several familiar faces this spring.

Seven 2023 Standard-Times Super Teamers — Apponequet’s Lauren Bernaiche and Christina Magnett, Dartmouth’s Aubrey Carberry and Olivia Rapoza, GNB Voc-Tech’s Ana Tsonis and New Bedford’s Amelia Davis and Hayleigh Chenard — are back and will look to lead their respective teams.

Apponequet had the deepest playoff run a year ago, reaching the Div. 3 Elite 8. Wareham will see how it stacks up in its first year with the Mayflower League.

Here’s a look at the top 26 softball players to watch on the SouthCoast in 2024:

SEASON PREVIEW: SouthCoast baseball to watch in 2024 and team capsules

Lauren Bernaiche, Apponequet

Bernaiche enjoyed a breakout junior campaign last year as she recorded 123 strikeouts in 101 innings for a 2.53 ERA to help the Lakers reach the Div. 3 Elite 8. “She doesn’t get rattled when she gets behind in counts,” said Apponequet head coach Nate Farrington. “She’s really steady for us on the mound.”

Christina Magnett, Apponequet

A three-year starter, Magnett will once again be looked to produce on offense and deliver as a junior shortstop. A year ago, she batted .407 with seven doubles, two triples, two home runs and 17 RBIs. “Christina is a phenomenal hitter,” Farrington said. “She has the power to hit everywhere in the field. She has speed on the base paths and she’s a rock at shortstop.”

Caleigh Venuti, Apponequet

As a junior catcher, Venuti will help call pitches along with Bernaiche. “Caleigh is going to be a rock behind the plate,” Farrington said. “She’s the leader behind the plate and she brings it offensively for us.”

Eva Zuber, Apponequet

Look for big things from Zuber, a senior third baseman, on offense and defense. “She plays a solid third base for us and is great at the plate,” Farrington said. “She can hit any pitch you throw at her.”

Avery Clough, Bishop Stang

The senior left fielder is strong in the outfield and as a lefty batter. “Avery is an excellent outfielder with good range,” said Bishop Stang first-year head coach Bill Hrasky. “She can hitline drives all over the field.”

Katie Manzone, Bishop Stang

Manzone will look to lead the Spartans on defense and offense as a senior shortstop. “She’s a great leader with good hands and a strong arm,” Hrasky said.

Ava Teixeira, Bishop Stang

There’s a reason Hrasky will have Teixeira, a sophom*ore center fielder, batting leadoff. “She’s super fast,” he said. “She can turn a single into a triple.”

Megan Arruda, Dartmouth

Arruda, a three-year starter, enjoyed a strong junior season in 2023 as she recorded 111 strikeouts in 136 innings and had a 2.77 ERA. “She looks stronger and faster this year,” said Dartmouth head coach Beth Arguin. “Megan works really hard. She’s been our starting pitcher since sophom*ore year and she’s gotten stronger mentally and physically.”

Aubrey Carberry, Dartmouth

A two-time Super Teamer, Carberry led Dartmouth last year with 31 RBIs, 30 hits and nine home runs while hitting .395. “She’s been a powerhouse hitter all four years since she started with me as a freshman,” Arguin said. “She’s solid in the field. She knows where to make the plays and how to make the plays. She’s very consistent. She’s a leader on the field.”

Lola Chase, Fairhaven

Even though she’s only a freshman, Chase should have an immediate impact for Fairhaven in the outfield and at the plate. “She’s very athletic,” said Fairhaven head coach Cathy Silva. “She has a lot of promising talent. She’ll stick out in the area as a freshman player.”

Sydney Merusi, Fairhaven

Merusi, a senior first baseman, is coming off a solid junior year in which she batted .450, had 27 hits and drove in 14 runs. “Sydney has been a standout plate for me since sophom*ore year,” Silva said. “She hits the ball hard.”

Ava Morrison, Fairhaven

Morrison is making the move from catcher to outfield to fill a void for Fairhaven this spring. “It’s pretty natural to her in the outfield,” Silva said. “She’s willing to do what’s best for the team.”

Olivia Araujo, GNB Voc-Tech

Araujo will play shortstop this spring as a freshman at GNB Voc-Tech. “She’s got the potential,” said GNB Voc-Tech head coach Craig Soares. “She’s got the tools to be real good. I'm hoping between freshman year and senior year, she could be the next Kylie Caetano.”

Alexia Tsonis, GNB Voc-Tech

Soares also has high expectations for Tsonis, a junior center fielder in her third year on varsity. “I’m looking for big things from her,” he said. “We saw it her freshman year; she’ll give it 110 percent. She’s grown a little bit and the ball coming off her bat, she’s got some pop. She’s got more confidence than what she had.”

Ana Tsonis, GNB Voc-Tech

A four-year varsity player and a key member of GNB Voc-Tech’s 2022 Div. 3 state championship team, Tsonis will move from third base to the mound this year. “We’re going to go as far as she takes us,” Soares said. “I’m looking for big things on the mound and for her to lead us with big RBIs.”

Zoe Texeira, GNB Voc-Tech

In just her third year of organized softball, Texeira will be looked up to contribute in left field and at the plate. “She had some skills there and she’s gotten stronger,” Soares said. “I think she’s ready to start to blossom.”

Hayleigh Chenard, New Bedford

Chenard had a solid year as a first-year starting pitcher for New Bedford as a junior last spring, finishing with 110 strikeouts in 112 innings with a 3.18 ERA. She also hit .328 with 11 RBIs and 22 runs scored. “She’s gotten better as the years have gone on,” said New Bedford head coach Harry Lowe. “She mixes her speed and her pitches very well.”

Amelia Davis, New Bedford

Davis is entering her fourth season as New Bedford’s starting catcher. “She’s just solid behind the plate and never complains,” Lowe said. “She’s a great team leader.” A year ago, Davis batted .455 with 20 RBIs and 19 runs scored to be named a Super Teamer.

Ivy Mattos, New Bedford

Mattos made quite the debut last year, earning a spot on The Standard-Times All-Star team as a freshman shortstop that batted .469 with 22 RBIs and two home runs and had a .931 fielding percentage. “I'm looking for big things from that kid,” Lowe said. “She’s got a great arm and great range at shortstop. She’s a very smart hitter. She’s going to crush the ball.”

Lindsey Bacchiocchi, Old Colony

A year ago, Bacchiocchi led the Cougars in hits (28), batting average (.491), runs (36) and stolen bases (21). “She’s a super athlete,” said Old Colony head coach Brandon Mendez of his senior outfielder. “She led the team in almost everything last year. She’s definitely a big weapon for us.”

Kayleigh DeSousa, Old Colony

The junior catcher batted .411 with 22 RBIs and 26 runs scored last year. “She’s got a cannon for an arm,” Mendez said of his left-handed catcher. “She’s in command of the field. She also can hit for power and hit for average. She’s the complete package.”

Patty Spillane, Old Colony

As a sophom*ore, Spillane hit .493 with 25 RBIs and 22 runs scored while only making two total errors in the field, playing a combination of first, second and third base. “She’s a great left-handed hitter,” Mendez said. “She’s in complete charge out there. She’s a phenomenal leader.”

Tara Goldman, Old Rochester

Goldman enters her second year as Old Rochester’s starting pitcher. She’ll also bat in the four hole. “She lives and breathes softball,” said Old Rochester head coach Allie Lima. “Her pitches have gotten quicker and her changeups are great when she hits them.”

Rylee Kouta, Old Rochester

Kouta, a senior catcher, will bat lead off for the Bulldogs this spring. “She is one of the best catchers I've seen,” Lima said. “She can stop everything. She frames well and has an excellent arm.”

Jolee Anderson, Wareham

Anderson is looking to follow up a solid freshman debut as a sophom*ore catcher/pitcher. “She’s a very powerful girl and she’s got a great bat. She’s got a great arm,” said Wareham head coach Rudy Cadena. “I think she’s just a solid all-around softball player.”

Madison Nereu, Wareham

Nereu will once again be Wareham’s ace after finishing last spring with 89 strikeouts. She also slugged a team-high five home runs. “She’s just getting stronger as she develops and she’s getting consistent,” Cadena said. “She’s grown mentally. She’s a lot stronger mentally.”

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Head coach: Nate Farrington

Last year’s record: 12-11

Top returners: Lauren Bernaiche, Sr., P; Eva Zuber, Sr., 3B; Christina Magnett, Jr., SS; Caleigh Venuti, Jr., C; Marissa Kelly, So., LF; Sarah DelVecchio, Jr., P; Zoe Trinque, Jr., 1B; Morgan Saraceno, Jr., CF; Arianna Camara, Jr., RF

Key newcomer: Kate Suneson, Fr., 2B.

Outlook: After only graduating two seniors, Farrington has high expectations for this year’s team after the Lakers reached the Div. 3 Elite 8 last spring. “Last year making a run in the tournament, they got a taste of what they're capable of,” Farrington said. “We’re coming in with more confidence. I think our strength this year is the fact we’ve had so much varsity playing experience they got as freshmen and sophom*ores.”


Head coach: Bill Hrasky

Last year’s record: 8-111

Top returners: Katie Manzone, Sr., SS; Avery Clough, Sr., LF; Sophia Brousseau, So., 3B; Maria Elena Thomas, So., C; Julia Duzysnki, Sr., P; Ava Teixeira, So., CF; Sidney Alboum, Jr., 1B/DH; Averey Bettencourt, Jr., IF; Alaina Chasse, So., P/2B; Ava Correia, So., 3B/OF.

Key newcomers: Morgan Diogo, Sr., 2B; Kirstyn Mello, Sr., 1B; Lainey Vanvoorhis, Sr., RF.

Outlook: Under Hrasky, Stang’s first-year head coach, the Spartans have a blend of veterans and newcomers. “It’s sort of a mixed bag,” said Hrasky. “Our strength will be the experience. We have a lot of 12th graders. With the injection from Bishop Connolly, we’ve picked up some people.” Diogo, Mello and Vanvoorhis are all transfers from Connolly.


Head coach: Beth Arguin

Last year’s record: 13-9

Top returners: Aubrey Carberry, Sr., SS; Megan Arruda, Sr., P; Desirae Paiva, Sr., C; Hannah Garcia, Sr., 1B; Sarah Cabral, Sr., OF/P; Julia Rapoza, Sr., OF; Olivia Rapoza, So., 3B.

Key newcomers: Jillian DuBois, So., IF/OF; Abigail Lancaster, So., IF.

Outlook: With the graduation of just one senior from last year’s team that won a playoff game, there are high expectations for a senior-laden Dartmouth squad this spring. “These kids have been playing together for a few years as a core group,” Arguin said. “Because the majority of them have been playing together since sophom*ore year, they know how to play off each other. They have some chemistry. I’m hoping we can do well in the conference. B-R is always a challenge and New Bedford is always a good game.”


Head coach: Cathay Silva

Last year’s record: 6-14

Top returners: Arden Bradshaw, Sr., P; Sydney Merusi, Sr., 1B; Ava Morrison, Jr., CF/C; Aylin Haworth, Jr., SS; Kaia Furtado, So., P/IF; Emma Gomes, Jr., U; Amelia Breese, Jr., U; Kennedy Allen, So., C; Braley Boucher, So., OF.

Key newcomers: Lola Chase, Fr., IF: Stella Zangao, Fr., 3B; Elaine Monroe, So., OF.

Outlook: Inexperience plagued the Blue Devils a year ago as they managed to win just six games. With the majority of the team back with more experience and the addition of some freshmen, Silva believes Fairhaven should be able to turn the corner this spring. “We struggled last year. A lot of these guys are returning so hopefully we’ll improve from last year,” she said. “There has been improvement. It’s, ‘Can we put it together?’ I’d say defense is our strength.”


Head coach: Craig Soares

Last year’s record: 14-10

Top returners: Ana Tsonis, Sr., P/3B; Genesis Nunes, Sr., RF/2B; Ava Neno, Sr., 2B/SS; Ayla Emin, Sr., 1B; Alexia Tsonis, Jr., CF; Zoe Texeira, Jr., LF; Emma Machado, So., 3B/2B.

Key newcomers: Janaih Cooper, So., 3B/1B; Lauren Fernandes, Jr., P/OF/IF; Olivia Araujo, Fr., SS; Brielle Douglas, Fr., C; Erika Gurn, Jr., C/1B/3B; Leah Perez, Fr., IF/OF.

Outlook: The Bears have some holes to fill, but should once again be strong with the return of several key players from last year’s team that won 14 games. “I’ve got a mix,” Soares said. “For the most part, the veterans that are back, but they haven’t been relied upon to be my backbone. If they can do the job on a day-to-day basis and give me production, I'm hoping we can have a little run.”


Head coach: Harry Lowe

Last year’s record: 11-10

Top returners: Hayleigh Chenard, Sr., P/CF; Amelia Davis, Sr., C; Annabelle Huston, Sr., 1B; JJ Greene, Sr., OF/P; Ava Kaplan, Jr., 2B; Ivy Mattos, So., SS; Belle Almeida, So., 3B.

Key newcomer: Natalie DiMatteo, Fr., IF/OF.

Outlook: The seasoned Whalers, who graduated just one player from a year ago, have their sights set on earning a top 16 spot in the Div. 1 tournament. “We’re trying to win enough games to have a home game in the playoffs,” said Lowe, who enters the season with 595 career wins. “The last three years we’ve had to go on the road. I think offensively we’ll score some runs this year. I think we’ll be better defensively. Most are getting their second, third or fourth year on varsity.”


Head coach: Brandon Mendez

Last year’s record: 8-10

Top returners: Lindsey Bacchiocchi, Sr., OF; Kayleigh DeSousa, Jr., C; Patty Spillane, Jr., IF; Sharon Delancey, So., P/IF; Laila Servis, So., IF; Emma Yelle, So., OF; Faith Young, So., OF.

Key newcomers: Huntter DeSouza, So., P/IF; Cori Wilkinson, So., IF; Julia Gallego, Fr., IF; Ryann Miranda, Fr., C; Leah Robitaille, Fr., IF; Lindsey Sumner, Fr., IF/OF.

Outlook: The Cougars will be young, but they have enough talent and experience to make some noise in the Mayflower Athletic Conference Small. “The attitude and the effort every day has been spectacular,” Mendez said. “We’re looking for incremental growth every day. Veteran leadership of Bacchiocchi, DeSousa and Spillane will set the standard for a young and ambitious team. I think we can compete in the Mayflower Small. That's the expectation and the goal for the season.”


Head coach: Allie Lima

Last year’s record: 1-17

Top returners: Rylee Kouta, Sr., C; Tara Goldman, Sr., P; Caitlyn O’Donnell, Jr., CF; Madison Mello, Jr., P.

Key newcomers: N/A

Outlook: In her second year as head coach, Lima is confident the Bulldogs can improve on last year. “I’m feeling pretty good,” she said. “We struggled a bit last year. It was a new coach and a new program. I changed a lot of dynamics. As long as I can keep everyone healthy, I think we can do fine this season.” Lima said that Old Rochester’s non-conference schedule should be competitive with games against Falmouth and Wareham.


Head coach: Rudy Cadena

Last year’s record: 5-17

Top returners: Madison Nereu, Sr., P; Emily Mancuso, Sr., OF; Jolee Anderson, So., C/P; Olivia Lacava, So., 3B; Jossalyn Anctil, So., CF; Savannah Varden, So., 1B/C.

Key newcomer: Samantha Purcell, 8th grade, SS.

Outlook: With only two seniors, the Vikings will be on the young side this year. “It’s a super young team,” said Cadena. “Seven of the starters are underclassmen. It’s short-term goals, day by day and game by game. If we do that, I think we’ll be where we need to be. We always want to grow from the previous year. Last year we had the tournament win against Brighton.” This will be Wareham’s first year playing in the Mayflower Athletic Conference Comprehensive with Avon, Holbrook and Westport.

Meet the top 26 high school softball players from the SouthCoast to watch in 2024 (2024)
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