Carmel swings for the fences

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When asked about his team’s goals for the 2013 season, Carmel softball coach Jason Raymond doesn’t pull any punches.

“We want to make it downstate,” Raymond said. “Especially after the run we had last year.”

Despite finishing with just a .500 record at 19-19 in 2012, the Corsairs stunned the Class 4A tournament field by advancing to a sectional title game against a powerful Jacobs team before they bowed out.

One of the biggest reasons they fared so well? Carmel scored a whopping 258 runs (6.78 per game), which included 36 home runs. That home run mark is tied for 15th best all-time in Illinois, according to the IHSA website. The state record for homers by a club is 51.

The good news for Carmel fans is that despite losing slugging first baseman Sally Snarski and outfielders Kelley Dodge and Madeline Felipez to graduation, the Corsairs return so much talent that another run deep into the playoffs is almost an expectation.

“I honestly think we have the potential to score even more this season — that’s the scary thing,” Raymond said.

Perhaps then it’s no surprise the Corsairs scored 32 runs in their first two games of the 2013 season, thanks to a pair of 16-0 shutout wins at Waukegan Saturday. Junior shortstop Kathleen Felicelli, who belted a school record 12 homers a year ago, opened the season with hits in five of her first nine at-bats. She’s also scored five runs.

Also back are sophomore third baseman Jenny Behan and senior catcher Skyler Zak. Both homered in the Corsairs’ first game last weekend. Even hotter at the plate is freshman Amanda Elert. She’s put up video game-like numbers early on, going 7-for-7 with three triples.

“Just remarkable,” Raymond said with a chuckle. “She’s gonna become a force for us, I think.” ~.

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