The 14u KPY Lady Knights (LK) followed up their stellar 43-7 2017 season (3 League Championships) with another excellent campaign in 2018.

The LK stepped up their game this spring by participating in the Fastpitch Nation Spring Classic USSSA tournament in Connecticut and coming away with a huge victory against the Aztecs, 12-2. Later in March, they participated in the Baseball Heaven Pre-Season Smash Tournament, picking up another victory against a large organization, knocking off the Nationals04, 15-3.

To kickoff their 31 game summer schedule, the LK participated in the Aftershock May Day Madness Memorial Day tournament. After tying the LI Bandits 7-7 and winning 2 straight vs the LI Mayhem, the LK squared off against the Nitro in the championship game. Behind strong pitching and timely hitting, the LK walked off 4-3 in the bottom of the 7th to win the tournament!

League play began at the start of June. The LK left the NJBL and brought their show on the road, joining the ultra competitive 14u Baseball Heaven Girls Fast-pitch Summer league in Yaphank. Not only did the LK hold their own, they finished the regular season 8-5-1, good enough for second place out of 6 teams! They continued their success vs the big dogs, knocking off the LI Heat 03, Nationals04 twice, Rebels White 3 times and the LI Outlaws twice during the regular season.

The LK participated in the LI Hurricanes Summer Sizzle tournament at the end of June. Due to rain, the tournament was a 1 day extravaganza which saw the LK beat Fire & Ice 13-1, Hurricanes Thunder 12-1 and fall just short in the championship game to the 14u Nitro A team ,5-4 in the bottom of the 7th for a 2nd place overall finish.

In July, the LK traveled to Baldwin park for the Fire & Ice Summer Freeze tournament. After winning 2 of 3 on day one vs the Hurricanes and Fire & Ice, rain shortened the tournament and the LK took the #2 spot for a 2nd straight tournament.

Individual Summer Highlights:

As in previous years, the LK pitching staff lead the charge against a much stiffer schedule in 2018. Gabby Amicizia pitched 60 innings, striking out 53 and finishing summer with a 2.94 ERA and 6 wins. Gabby’s best start came vs the 1st place LI Express (14-2), who outscored their opponents 147 to 40 during the regular season. Gabby fired 7 innings (complete game), one earned run, giving up 3 hits and striking out 4. Gabby did it at the dish as well this summer, batting .320/.460 (avg./obp) driving in 14 runs.

Marissa Passantino slung 44 innings, allowing only 41 hits while striking out 40. Marissa’s best start came in the May Day Madness tournament, going 6 innings (complete game), giving up 1 hit, 1 run and striking out 9! She had 3 wins on the season and contributed at the plate with a .370 OBP, leading the team with 17 walks. Marissa was a picking machine at 1B!

Grace Heim pitched 34 innings for the LK, striking out 35 and winning 3 games. Grace’s best start came against the Outlaws, where she pitched 6 innings (complete game), gave up 3 hits and struck out 10! Grace was a monster at the plate this summer, leading the team in average (.521), on base % (.589), RBI’s (19), doubles (6) and triples (1) in only 56 plate appearances! Grace began the season (1st 9 games) an absurd 16 for 21 with 12 RBI’s!

Daniella Popko threw 26 innings for the LK, winning 2 games and logging clutch innings in relief, highlighted by 4.3 innings of 1 run ball vs the 1st place LI Express. Daniella, a team captain, contributed at the plate with a .330 OBP and 3 doubles. She played solid D at 1B.

Maddie Anderson started 4 games in the circle, winning 2 of them, her last, a 5 inning 0 earned run gem against the Rebels. Maddie batted .383/.508 out of the leadoff spot, scoring 20 runs, 2nd on the team. Maddie had a huge game at the dish against the Rebels, going 2-3 with 4 RBI’s, 2 Runs and a double. Maddie played excellent defense at LF & 3B.

Jessica Sticco held down the shortstop position, making numerous highlight reel plays. Jess batted 426/.516 with 6 doubles (tied for lead) and 16 runs scored out of the 3rd spot in the order including two 3 hit games! Jess had a huge game in a 11-10 victory over the Outlaws, going 3-4 with 4 runs scored and an RBI.

Gianna Pizzulli was a Swiss army knife for the LK, with solid play at 3B, LF, RF and catcher. Gianna batted .419/.500 with 13 runs scored and 14 RBI’s in limited at bats including 7 multi hit games in 18 played.

Talia D’Onofrio was the LK most consistent force in the outfield, playing a nearly flawless CF and tracking down balls that most players her age would never get to. Talia finished the season white hot, going 11 for her last 17 with 12 RBI’s and 7 runs scored to finish at .340/.445 with 18 RBI’s (3rd) and 2 HR’s (tied for 1st) including a mammoth walkoff HR to win a tournament game.

Jessie Forneiro was her typical “Steady Betty” again this summer, playing excellent defense at 2B/SS while hitting .411/.500, leading the team in plate appearances (92), at bats (73), hits (30), runs (27), RBI (19), singles (26) and HR’s (2) including a tape measure shot vs the LI Pride. Jessie had 8 multi hit games including two 3 hit games (12-10 win over the Bluefire and 11-10 win over the Outlaws).

Sofia Stampfli had a tremendous bounce-back summer, by far the LK most improved player. Sofia batted .381/.469 with 6 multi hit games,15 runs scored, including a few bunt hits in big spots. She played solid D in CF, RF and 2B.

Sarah Gunn, another team captain, wore the “tools of ignorance” again this summer, starting at catcher in almost every game. Sarah improved her receiving and throwing tremendously, shooting down a number of would be base stealers. Sarah had a .350 OBP, 2nd on the team in walks with 16.

Julia Russo had a .340 OBP splitting time between RF and DH. Julia had a big game vs the Rebels, going 2-2 with 3 runs scored, a single, double and RBI.

Michelle Defina was a steadying force at the keystone for the LK. Michelle layed down a huge sacrifice bunt to bust open the playoff clinching game for the LK. Michelle heated up at the season’s end, going 2 for her last 5 and driving in some big runs.

Karla Iwanejko played a solid RF throughout the season, also getting down a few big bunts and doing an excellent job on the base paths.

Coaches John Forneiro, Carol & Mike Passantino, Chris Stampfli and John Heim could not be more proud of this amazing group of young ladies. They stepped up to the challenge of increased competition and being the youngest team in the league, worked hard, played hard, had fun and exceeded our expectations. We look forward to a fun and competitive fall season!