St. Al aims for playoff run|Prep softball

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One look at the roster will tell you this is a transition year for St. Aloysius.

That doesn’t mean it can’t still be a good one.

The Lady Flashes, who reached the second round of the Class 1A playoffs last season, have only one senior and two juniors on the roster this year. Gone are fireballing pitcher Sarah Franco and several other steady contributors. In is a group of young players with a bright future but little game expierience so far.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Click here for schedule

“It’s going to be a transition year for us, but we’re going to be OK,” St. Al coach Gene Rogillio said. “I’ve got four or five kids in the seventh grade that can pitch. The future is looking good. It’s just going to be a couple years where we don’t have the speed. We have to suck it up and play defense.”

The biggest change for St. Al is in the pitcher’s circle. Franco, the 2008 Vicksburg Post Player of the Year, was the team’s primary pitcher for five seasons. She threw five no-hitters and had a 0.89 ERA last year.

Replacing her will be junior Taylor Ann Hasty and Franco’s younger sister Grace, an eighth-grader. Neither has the velocity Sarah Franco had, but instead rely on slower breaking pitches and change-ups.

“It’s pretty big shoes to fill. We’re going to be a different team,” Hasty said. “She had a lot more speed and I have a lot more junk. I have that going for me.”

Rogillio said St. Al has been blessed with a long line of great pitchers. Before, Sarah Franco, Laura Beth Lyons and Allison Hearn held down the spot for several seasons each. Although it’s a luxury teams would love to have, Hasty said it was also one the Lady Flashes relied on too often.

“It’s going to be a little hard work because we relied on Sarah more than we should have. But I think we can pick it up.” Hasty said.

If the pitchers get knocked around a bit, the Lady Flashes should have a solid offense to back them up.

Mallory McGuffee, a freshman, led the team with a .467 batting average and 15 RBIs last season. Outfielder Kay Kay DeRossette, the only senior on the roster, hit .297. In front of them is junior Sara Howington, who scored 12 runs.

“Last year we averaged one strikeout per 12 batters. So we were putting the ball in play. I think we’re going to be able to do that again,” Rogillio said.

Contact Ernest Bowker at