Allentown High School’s starting pitcher Carly Noble winds up and gives a serve on a plate during last season’s game. Allentown hosts Trenton Central at the season opener on April 1st. STEVEN BASSIN / STAFF
ALENTOWN – In 2021, members of the Allentown High School softball team saw firsthand what it takes to participate in the championship during the 15-7 campaign.
The Redbards remained six exits from the game in the Central Jersey State Championship, Group III by sections, as they topped Colts Neck High School 1-0, going to the bottom of the sixth inning during the state sectional tournament semifinals.
But the Cougars rallied to defeat the Redbirds, and eventually won the crown of the state sectional tournament and the NJSIAA Group III state championship.
Pushing the team, which eventually won the state champions, to the brink of relegation and defending the game for the title of state sectional tournament, showed Redbirds, what success they are capable of if combined all together.
Since their lineup is completely intact in the 2022 campaign, the Redbirds crave bigger things and believe they have everything they need to win the state sectional tournament title.
“The girls want to go much further,” said coach Richard Dawson. “Going to the semi-finals section last year really made them a lot hungrier to go further this year and win the championship.”
A big bat of senior man from first base Kaylee Muszynski is back in the middle of the lineup to boost the Redbirds. As a junior, Muszynski struck 32 shots per team with two home runs and 20 RBI.
Senior Emily Soup is returning after a junior campaign in which she held 20 races for the Redbirds. In 2021, Zupa made 29 hits, 21 runs and led the team with 21 doubles.
Muszynski and Zupa will head a strong homestead, which will also feature sophomore Stella Logan and senior Emily Locamp
Logan is expected to play in the short stop in 2022 after in 2021 he will play primarily at third base. As a freshman, Logan made 30 strokes and 14 RBIs, and led the team with 23 runs.
“I expect it to reach a new level,” Dawson said of Logan. “I expect she will fight the bats harder.”
Dawson also expects to see a more offensive staging from sophomore Kylie Michalik.
In the far field, senior Olivia Saka leads the charge behind the Redbirds. Saka scored 20 hits in his youth and led the team with 11 stolen bases in 2021.
Sophomore Sofia Belordina is also scheduled to return to the field.
Dawson believes the Redbirds have the strength in the pitch when Skyler LaFisco and Carly Noble return.
The two seniors are expected to start from where they left off a year ago and deal the Redbards a hard hit one or two that can take with any team at the Colonial Valley Conference and Group III competitions in Central Jersey.
Second-year student Holly Mooney will catch two aces.
Dawson expects freshmen Kyle Foy, Taylor Lala and Maddie Kish to set the spark for the Redbirds in their first campaign.
The coach knows how hungry his players are to win the championship, but he has taken care to convey the message that in the pre-season you need to take everything one game at a time.
“We’re playing one game at a time,” Dawson said. “Before you know it, you’re going to have a good season and you’re going to be exactly where you want to be.”
The Redbards looked strong in their clashes, winning against Manalapan and Lawrenceville Prep.
On the opening day, April 1, the Redbirds will host Trenton Central.
“I want the girls to be completely on one page,” Dawson said. “Protection. The base is working. Understanding the game of small ball or trying to beat an opponent depending on the team we play.