Rookie softball coach eager to return Pallotti to winning ways

Coming off a two-win season, Pallotti rookie coach Katie Grenchik wasn't looking for miracles from her team.

Instead, she's wanted the Panthers to be competitive while maintaining a positive attitude during what would appears to be shaping up as an up-and-down season.

So far, Pallotti is 3-4, having routed Beth Tfiloh and Oldfields, edging Baltimore Lutheran and losing to St. Timothy's, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Elizabeth Seton and neighborhood rival Laurel.

Holding its own at .500, Grenchick hopes this season is the first step for Pallotti in getting the program headed in the right direction after some lean years.

She said she still believes the Panthers can post a winning record this season with solid pitching and a lineup that features sophomore catcher Alyssa Meyer, senior third baseman Danielle Michon, sophomore shortstop Imani Torregano, senior center field Katy Allison, second baseman Becca Proctor and sophomore designated player Francesa Giuliani.

"They haven't been very strong the past few years," said Grenchick, a former Pallotti player, who is being assisted by another ex-Panther, Christina Smith. "Pallotti hasn't been attracting softball players because of that. We want to get the program back to where it used to be, and get some more softball players."

Grenchick can't complain about a lack of pitching. From senior Lyndsey Llewellyn, to Tottegano, to freshman Kiley Sweeney, the Panthers are well-armed.

"We are rotating them so they don't get overworked," Grenchick said. "All of them can pitch, but I don't want to wear any of them out."

Llewellyn pitched the bulk of the innings for Pallotti last year, when the Panthers failed to win a league game.

"Lyndsey pitched last year because they didn't have another pitcher on the team," Grenchick said. "She is pretty good."

Sweeney figures to be the team's future ace. Tottegano will challenge her for that position next season and beyond.

"I look forward to working with her over the next few years," Grenchcik said of Sweeney. "Kiley is probably a little bit faster and more accurate than the other two, but Lyndsey and Iamani are pretty consistent."

Tottegano has only pitched in three games in high school, but proved her value April 3, striking out nine batters and giving up three hits and two earned runs in a complete-game, 19-4 victory over Oldfields.

Because both Llewellyn and Sweeney were away on spring break, Tottegano had to throw a combined 11 innings in the win over Oldfields and a 12-11 verdict over Baltimore Lutheran the following day.

Moreover, the Panthers had to play both games with only nine players.

"She was getting tired," Grenchcik said of her starting pitcher. "But she hung in there and just kept going."

Pallotti built a 7-1 lead on Lutheran through the top of the fourth inning that quickly disappeared in the bottom of the inning, as the Saints pushed across eight runs.

They took advantage of six walks and two errors before the Panthers (3-3, 3-2 conference) responded in the sixth with four runs to regain the advantage. Allison's single to right field knocked in Giuliani for the eventual winning run.

"I had no doubt we could come back," Grenchcik said. "The kids have been hitting really well."

The Panthers have five Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference games remaining on the schedule, including home-field showdowns with Mount Carmel (April 17) and Friends (April 24).

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