A look at the 2024 Colonial League East softball season

When it comes to Colonial League softball this spring, several teams are in good hands — the hands of good pitchers.

In the West Division, Palmerton’s Carly Gaffney, Northwestern Lehigh’s Emma Freeman and Catasauqua’s Delaney Troxell are among the quality arms. In the East, Palisades star Karlye Teman, Bangor’s Jaelyn Silfies and Pen Argyl’s Jillian Bradley all give their teams a chance to win every time they take the ball.

In all should make for a competitive season, which begins with league games on Wednesday and continues through May 7 with the league tournament to culminate with the championship game on May 16 at Pates Park.

After taking a look at the Colonia League West a few days ago, here’s a primer on the six teams in the Colonial East:

Past 5 division champs

2018: Bangor

2019: Bangor

2021: Bangor

2022: Bangor

2023: Palisades

4 players to watch

Pen Argyl junior Jillian Bradley: A hard-throwing lefty pitcher, Bradley had multiple double-digit strikeout games last season and is also one of the league’s most dangerous hitters with extra-base hit pop.

Palisades junior Brooklyn Lucas: Hit .429 with a .458 on-base percentage and a 1.049 OPS. She had 33 hits including 10 extra-base hits. She hit three home runs, knocked in 29 runs and scored 25 and stole eight bases.

Bangor senior Jaelyn Silfies: The West Chester commit has more than 200 strikeouts in her career and among her highlights last season was a grand slam.

Palisades junior Karyle Teman: The Morning Call’s rookie of the year in 2022 became the pitcher of the year in 2023 when she went 24-3 with a 1.48 ERA, and 288 strikeouts in 165 innings. She had eight no-hitters and also hit .461 with three home runs and scored 33 runs.

3 league openers to see Wednesday

Pen Argyl @ Wilson

Bangor @ Palisades

Palmerton @ Notre Dame-Green Pond

2 storylines to follow

(1) After back-to-back District 11 titles and reaching the state semis last year, can Palisades take the next step and get to the state finals under first-year coach Rick Wilmott?

(2) After a 17-win season last year, can Pen Argyl put it together in the postseason and make a run at league and district golf?

1 man’s opinion

East division prediction: 1. Palisades; 2. Pen Argyl; 3. Bangor; 4. Notre Dame; 5. Wilson; 6. Saucon Valley.

Six teams that will make the league tournament: Northwestern Lehigh, Palmerton, Northern Lehigh; Palisades; Pen Argyl; Bangor.

League finals: Northwestern Lehigh over Palisades

Team-by-team outlook


Coach: Patrick Howarth (fourth season, 45-22).

2023 season: 11-11, 11-5 league (3rd in East).

Postseason: Lost to Palmerton 9-1 in league tournament; lost to Pocono Mountain East 10-7 in District 11 5A semifinals.

Impact players: Jaelyn Silfies (Sr. P); Jade Hendricks (Sr. 3B); Amy Blaha (Sr.); Brook Hermanski (Jr.); Marissa Siu (Jr.); Adelise DeFranco (Jr.); Adelise DeFranco (Jr.); Cameron Howarth (So.); Kelli Snow (So.); Caliana Huratiak (So.); Kaylynn Figurski (So.); Abby Orlemann (So.); Kaileigh McGowan (Fr.); Emma Chaney (Fr.); Madalynn Giera (Fr.); Emma Christie (Fr.); Sophia Hickler (Fr.); Zoe Blaha (Fr.).

What to expect: Bangor softball took a step back last season with no postseason wins and the Slaters have another young team with two returning seniors, two returning juniors and four returning sophomores. Silfies is a West Chester commit and figures to provide stability in the pitching circle. “We have another great group of freshman who we think will step in and make a huge impact on the field,” Howarth said.

Notre Dame-Green Pond

Coach: Grant Lilly (first season).

2023 season: 8-12, 5-11 (4th in East).

Impact players: Hannah Lilly (Jr. SS); Megan Shields (Sr. C); Skyler Howlett (Sr. OF); Claire Ceraul (Jr. 3B); Addison Ryan (Jr. 1B).

What to expect: Lilly replaces Fran Rowley who coached the Crusaders for six seasons. He was the Notre Dame junior high coach the last three seasons and has coached travel ball for many years. He said he has a team with a talented group of upperclassmen and several exciting freshmen. “If we play to our potential, we will be a extremely formidable team,” he said. “The Colonial League is loaded with very talented pitching, but we have the bats to keep pressure on them. The goal is to make the playoffs and play deep into May.”


Coach: Rick Wilmott (first season).

2023 season: 24-3, 15-1 league (1st in East).

Postseason: Lost to Palmerton 7-0 in Colonial League semifinals; beat Pen Argyl 5-3 and Pine Grove 10-4 to win District 11 3A title; beat Conwell-Egan 9-5, beat North Penn-Liberty 5-1, lost to eventual state champ Mid Valley 8-1 in PIAA 3A tournament.

Impact players: Bri Hunter (Sr. C); Ailish Kelleher (Sr. CF); Kayla Russo (Sr. 1B); Chesney Mosher (Sr. IF); Julianna Flanagan (Sr. IF); Karlye Teman (Jr. P).

What to expect: Wilmott, who previously was the head coach at Northampton Community College and a longtime travel coach, said he could have listed the entire roster as impact players because “every player is key to the success of our program.” Besides those listed, Aubrey Boushell, Rhiley Ponitera, Brooklynn Lucas, Catie Russo, Fiona Kelleher and Erin Wallblich will play significant roles. Catcher and all-area player Ashley Amato was the only starter to graduate from a team that was one win away from making it to Penn State and the state championships last June. “We are an ‘in the moment’ team,” said Wilmott, who has two former head coaches on his staff in Dave Yob and his daughter, Jill Cabrera. “The most important play is the next one. We will continue in all four phases of the game and see where it takes us.”

Pen Argyl

Coach: Bill Schankel (35th season).

2023 season: 17-5, 13-3 league (2nd in East).

Postseason: Lost to Northern Lehigh 4-3 in the Colonial League quarterfinals, lost to Palisades 5-3 District 11 3A quarterfinals.

Impact players: Isabella Groves (Sr. C); Miyah Rivera (Sr. P-OF); Jillian Bradley (Jr. P-OF), Grace Weaver (Jr. SS).

What to expect: As usual, Schankel is cautiously optimistic but said it was hard to evaluate his team since it took awhile to get on their field. Schankel is a Hall of Fame coach and few have been more successful at producing solid teams on a consistent basis. There are enough key returning pieces for the Green Knights to be one of the top teams in the division and the league again. However, the goal has to be to push deeper in the postseason after quarterfinal-round losses in both the league and district tournaments last years.

Saucon Valley

Coach: Terry Csrenko (second season).

2023 season: 4-14, 3-13 league (6th in East).

Impact players: Mallory Brown (Sr.); Hope Cassellia (Sr.); Tori Frank (Sr.); Emma Minninger (Sr.); Matty Seyfried (So.); Ryan Gall (So.); Bianca
Jauregui (So.); Eliza Sullivan (Jr.); Marilyn Schottman (Jr.); Tess Wagner (Jr.); Navaeh Quinones (Fr.); Cassidy Ash (Fr.); Zara Ortiz (Fr.); Jada Welsh (Fr.).

What to expect: Csrenko said: We have worked this off season to prepare. I will be relying on my seniors most for leadership but will rely on the talented younger players as well who came up big last season. I felt we made great strides last year. We are focusing this season on getting out there and being able to compete and finish games. I am proud of this group of ladies. They have embraced team first, accountability and family.”

Wilson Area

Coach: John Beaupre (second season)

2023 season: 7-11 overall, 4-12 Colonial (5th in East).

Impact players: Olivia Werkheiser (Sr. C-1B); Aerynne Mays (Sr. 3B-C); Arianna Heimbach (Sr. OF-IF); Tessa Fredericks (Jr. P-SS); Addison Hoff (Soph. P-OF), Sabrena Espinosa (Jr. 2B-C), Abymarie Colon (Jr. Ut).

What to expect: Beaupre is optimistic his team will make a move upward in the Colonial League. “We have had a good group of freshmen and some other new players joined our core group and they have fit right in,” he said. “Our goals are to compete for the top spot in the Colonial League and qualify for districts.”


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