PAWTUCKET â€“ Tolman High coach Craig Giarrusso admits his biggest challenge during preseason practice sessions has been to develop a replacement for four-year starting pitcher (and slugger) Micayla Kirylo.
â€śIn this sport, pitching is obviously the big key,â€ť Giarrusso admits. â€śWe have two pitchers we are working with this spring â€“ sophomore Olivia Larson and junior Alex Lacoste. I have a lot of faith in Olivia that she can take over for Micayla and do a good job.â€ť
The Tigers return a key offensive performer in senior Veronica LeJeune, a catcher who might move to another position due to injuries, Giarrusso says.
Tolman finished 13-7 in Division II-South last season. It will be difficult to win 13 games in the regular season, as realignment has shortened the league schedule from 20 games to 16 games.
â€śThe realignment has created four sub-divisions,â€ť Giarrusso points out. â€śWe are in Division II-Central. I think we can win 11 or 12 games with the team we have. We would like to win the Central title but getting into the playoffs is our main goal.â€ť
Woonsocket, which won the Division III state title last June, has moved up to D-II and joins Tolman in the Central sub-division. Burrillville and North Smithfield are aligned in the North along with Ponaganset and former Division I power St. Raphael Academy.
Tolman opens its season on Monday, April 5, with a 4:15 p.m. home game at Slater Park against Classical.