Softball finishes first in region, looks to return to region championship


Photo courtesy of Lifetouch

Starting pitcher junior Sami Rosenberg throws a pitch during the team’s May 1 senior night game against Watkins Mill. Star pitching from four different pitchers led the team to a 17-0 no-hitter win.

The WJ softball team rounded out their 2023 season with a 12-2 record, finishing one game better than their 2022 season (11-3). The team earned the number one spot in the 4A-West Region I, with their two losses coming to Churchill (9-6) and Clarksburg (15-1). The team earned many dominating wins, and of their 12 wins this season, eight were won by a margin of nine or more runs.
Much of their success this season has been attributed to the team’s depth, with lots of young talent. Of the 15 players on the varsity lineup, five are freshmen, including starters Alina Bonior (Catcher), Ella Reynolds (3B/SS) and Addie Strbak (3B/OF).
“I think this season is different from what WJ has had in the past because of the depth we have. We have a range of strong players which gives us confidence going into any situation. We’ve had some great new talent on the team this season and I think we’ve formed a great team environment,” sophomore pitcher and outfielder Lydia Stelnyk said.
All around, many different players have contributed to the team’s success. Eight players on the team have batting averages above .400, and nine players have on-base percentages higher than .500. The team this season has combined for a batting average of .438 and an on-base percentage of .521. Crucial to the team’s depth has been the bonding and chemistry on the team.

We’ve bonded so much this year. At the beginning, I was skeptical of how we’d work together but most of us have lunch together at least once a week, we do more team bonding activities than we did last year, and all around we just work very well together.

— senior captain Sophia Ikeda

Standout pitching led by junior pitchers Sami Rosenberg and Stelnyk has also helped the team this season. The southpaw Rosenberg has started eight games, of which she has won seven, picking up 64 strikeouts along the way.
Other standouts on the team include Strbak, who has stolen a base 13 times this season only being caught once, more than double the number of bases anyone else on the team has stolen. In addition, Reynolds has thrived at the plate, leading the team in batting average (.542), on-base percentage (.593), slugging percentage (1.125), home runs (3) and runs scored (31).
In this year’s regional tournament, the team earned a bye into the regional semifinal as the number one seed, finishing with two fewer losses than the number two seed BCC (12-4). Last year, the team similarly finished first in the region but lost 17-1 to 5th-seeded Whitman in the region semifinal.
The team is looking to win the region for the first time since 2021 when they defeated Wootton 10-5. This year, they will face 4th-seeded Churchill (9-6) in the region semifinal after Churchill beat Wootton 12-1 in the region quarterfinal.
Despite going up 5-1 in the fifth inning, the Wildcats lost to Churchill 7-6 on April 18 after Churchill recovered to tie the game 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh and scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth. Like last time, the team will face a challenge in star Churchill starting pitcher sophomore Maggie King. King pitched for 69 innings in the regular season, earning 139 strikeouts along the way, including 20 alone against WJ.
“We’re hoping and expecting to win. We have to get up on them early and find ways to get on base. They have a really good pitcher, but our team is much more well-rounded,” Rosenberg said.
The Wildcats and Bulldogs will face off at WJ on Monday, May 15 at 4 p.m.