When it comes to sheer talent, there are few softball teams in Section I that can boast as much as the Harrison Huskies. With a cadre of returning multi-year starters, Dean Marino’s ballclub has the depth and ability to make waves in the Class A landscape. But the one question mark facing the team this year is a big one; consistency, according to the head coach.
Last season, the Huskies compiled a 14-6 record and advanced to the Class A quarterfinals, but were plagued by intermittent lapses in focus throughout the year that Marino is hoping his veteran-laden team can rectify this spring. With all but one starter returning the head coach knows that ultimately, the Huskies’ season will come down to mental preparation.
“From 1-to-9, we’re as good as anybody, I don’t know if there’s anyone better than us,” Marino told the Review. “But it’s going to come down to which team shows up; the one that beat Lakeland 3-1 in a well-played game beginning of the season, or the team that loses to them in the playoffs in a real disaster.”
Chief among the Huskies losses to graduation is last year’s No. 2 starter Sydney Braiotta, who batted .400 in addition to providing the Huskies with depth in the circle. But they return ace Tamara Day, who went 10-6 in 2018 and pitched to a 2.27 ERA.
Offensively, the Huskies should get production from sophomore Sydney Malen, who shined as a freshman, leading the team with 2 home runs and 12 extra-base hits. Lila Mogavero and Kristy Iannacchino, who batted .455 and .437 respectively, should also provide impact in a lineup that Marino believes is one of the strongest that he has seen in his 18-year tenure.
But all that talent is meaningless, he added, if the team isn’t ready for each game.
“It’s really about the leadership, and with the older girls, so far so good,” he said. “I’ve been around a long time, and I know that winning and losing is not what matters, but showing up mentally prepared, that’s 1,000,000 percent on them.”
The Huskies season officially kicks off on April 1, with a rematch of last year’s Class A quarterfinal game against Lakeland. That game kicks off a tough opening stretch that will see Harrison take on other top teams including Pearl River and Clarkstown South, before the team heads down to Florida for Spring Break on April 13.
“It’s a brutal schedule, we put on all the Class AA playoff teams, we’ve got Mamaroneck, who has the best pitcher [Gianna Magrino] in Section I,” Marino said. “There should be no learning curve, it’s just up to the kids to go out and show up to play every day.”