main content starts here

2002 State Championship Softball Team

Girls softball team wearing red uniforms

2002 Girls Chamionship Softball Team

The 2002 softball team won the school’s first-ever state championship when it capped off a 24-4 season with a 3-0 win over Susquehanna Valley in the Class B state title game. The Bulldogs, coached by Laurie Ciuffetelli, advanced to the finals with a 4-0 win over Babylon as senior pitcher Amanda Morin hurled a one-hit shutout. Morin, one of the top pitchers in school history and the state Class B Player of the Year, was named Player of the Year in the State and the Foothills Council.

The Bulldogs won the Foothills Council with a perfect 18-0 record, led by senior captains Nichole Varney and Morin. Those two were the only seniors on a team loaded with talented underclassmen. Morin, sophomore right fielder Megan Cross and freshman shortstop Micah Truax, who went on to win Big East Player of the Year honors for UConn, were all named Foothills Council first-team All-Stars.

Honorable mention selections were senior captain and second baseman Nichole Varney, junior captain and left fielder Alyssa DeMarsh, junior first baseman Laura Tucker, sophomore catcher Samantha Harrington (who threw out two runners trying to steal second base in the state title game), freshman third baseman Beth Belair and freshman center fielder Ashley Weller.

Morin threw two perfect games and allowed only four runs in South High’s seven post-season games.

“We knew we would be in the mix at the state tournament, with Amanda throwing for us,” Coach Laurie Ciuffetelli said. “We were young, but very strong defensively, and the bench was what really carried us…It was truly a team.”

Mrs. Ciufftelli told The Chronicle after the state title win, “We play well defensively when they hit the ball, but [Amanda] doesn’t give hitters a pitch very often where they’re going to really drive it to the fence. It’s nice to know you’ve got somebody who’s always going to be in control that way.

“We could always go out there and play kind of loose, because you know she’s going to keep you in the game.”

Nichole Varney hit over .300 and added clutch hitting to her stellar defense, helping the Bulldogs in their title run. Alyssa DeMarsh, who played in the 1999 state tournament as an eighth grader, was the team’s leadoff hitter for most of the regular season and “a great asset to our outfield,” the coach said.

Truax moved to the leadoff spot in the post-season and helped jumpstart the potent Bulldog offense. Megan Cross, the clean-up power hitter, was “fearless at the plate,” her coach said. Cross got the key hit in a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Lansingburgh in the Section II title game.

Andrea Curley came up from junior varsity for sectionals and was designated hitter for sectionals. “She did a phenomenal job,” Mrs. Ciuffetelli said. Beth Belair had “probably the best glove on the team” and added key hits in the postseason, while Ashley Weller anchored the Bulldog outfield, preserving one of Morin’s perfect games with a spectacular diving catch in the right-center field alley and driving in South High’s first run in the state championship game.

Samantha Harrington filled in as pitcher when Morin was injured early in the year, and was a very solid defensive catcher. Laura Tucker scored the team’s first run in the state title game, and was very strong defensively at first base. Freshman Brittany Celeste pitched three games early on and competed with Tucker for the first-base job. Other players were junior pitcher Danielle Becker, junior outfielder Melissa Diggins, junior infielder Adrienne Varney, sophomore outfielder Rachel Varney, junior catcher Heather Secor, and late-season callups Jackie Wallace, an eighth-grader who pinch-ran, and freshman runner Katie Terry.

Mrs. Ciuffetelli said Heather Secor “was pretty much the heart of our team. On or off the team, she gave 150 percent at trying to keep the team going.”

Looking back on the season, Mrs. Ciuffetelli said, “We didn’t score a ton of runs during the regular season. We scored a lot of runs in the post-season. They just all peaked at the same time. It just took a matter of time to pull it together. This year the difference really was that we hit the ball.

Team members were Danielle Becker, Beth Belair, Brittany Celeste, Megan Cross, Andrea Curley, Alyssa DeMarsh, Melissa Diggins, Samantha Harrington, Amanda Morin, Heather Secor, Katie Terry, Micah Truax, Laura Tucker, Nichole Varney, Rachel Varney, Adrienne Varney, Jackie Wallace and Ashley Weller. Coaches were Mrs. Ciuffetelli and John Knoll. Scorekeeper was Samantha Johnson.