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Bryn Mawr softball players Robin Brocato, left, and Maddie Unger are two returning starters for the Mawrtians, who are competing in the IAAM B Conference for the second season.
Bryn Mawr softball players Robin Brocato, left, and Maddie Unger are two returning starters for the Mawrtians, who are competing in the IAAM B Conference for the second season. (staff photo by Jon Sham)

Bryn Mawr's softball team had trouble making the transition after moving up to the B Conference last season in the Interscholastic Scholastic Athletic Association.

"It was a big adjustment," Bryn Mawr coach James Brown said. "It was a transition year. Now, they are really ready for the B Conference."

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Everything from the pitching to the baserunning to the fielding seemed a step faster than the Mawrtians were used to in the C Conference. Having made the adjustment, though, Bryn Mawr is ready to improve on its 6-7 finish.

Bryn Mawr returns seven starters and has a promising freshman pitcher in Sydney Stephenson.

"I think we have a strong opportunity to go to the championship," said Brown, who has been the  coach at Bryn Mawr for 18 seasons. "Sydney will be one of the better pitchers in the league. It's hard to find pitchers like her.

"I have strong leadership, the pitching and the hitting. It's just a matter of putting it all together."

Brown can't talk about the potential of his Mawrtians without mentioning his 2010 C Conference champions.

That team featured catcher Tatiana Motevalli-Oliner, now a Bryn Mawr assistant coach, and dominating pitcher Olivia Brocato.

Brown says his championship team had only two club players, but the 2015 lineup has four in Stephenson; her sister Auburn, a shortstop; freshman pitcher Larah Weinstein; and Brocato's younger sister Robin, a catcher.

"Having more club players strengthens the team," Brown said.

Brown likes his pitching. From Sydney Stephenson to sophomore Maddie Unger to Weinstein, the Mawrtians are appear strong.

Motevalli-Oliner, who will work with the pitchers and catchers, likes Stephenson's potential.

"She could be really, really great," Motevalli-Oliner said. "She will help us take it up to another level. If you can throw the ball by some girls in this conference, that's all you really need to do."

Brown added: "She has five different pitches and a deadly changeup."

Unger is another big part of the Mawtians' strength.

"Maddie pitched in every game last year," Motevalli-Oliner said. "She is not a flame-thrower, but she's in command of her pitchers. She was effective last year and has the experience."

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The catching will be handled by Robin Brocato, a three-year starter who batted .346 last year. Brocato's experience should help.

"She really knows the game and can call a game like Tatiana did in 2010," Brown said. "She frames pitches well. She's our go-to person in the field. I can sit back and relax and know she has control of the game."

The infield features shortstop Auburn Stephenson, who batted .427 last year with 15 RBIs, first baseman Maddie Weinstein, senior third baseman Emily Maranto (.392) and senior second baseman Isis Cabassa.

Maranto and Cabassa are four-year starters.

Senior Quichey Johnson, sophomore Carly Cortezi and freshman Natalie Maranto make up the outfield.

Freshman catcher-outfielder Hannah Sawa, sophomore infielder Charlotte Skolasky, sophomore outfielder Rebekah Robinson, Emily Robinson and freshman third baseman Grace O'Connor also will be key contributors.

"What's cool about this team is you have a lot of girls that have been playing with coach Brown for a while," Motevalli-Oliner said. "Every single player comes to practice knowing what their role is. In that way, we are more well-rounded."

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