PAWTUCKET – 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.
“In this sport, pitching is obviously the big key,” Giarrusso admits. “We have two pitchers we are working with this spring – 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.”
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.
“The realignment has created four sub-divisions,” Giarrusso points out. “We 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.”
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.