Saint Stephen’s has built a softball tradition that, since 2001, includes seven district titles and an appearance in a regional championship game in 2015.
The program’s history boasts several impact collegians. Heading that list is former Notre Dame star Cassidy Whidden, who was a two-time team captain and MVP for the Falcons. She was named all-state as a SSES freshman, hit safely in every game as a junior when she batted .588, and went errorless throughout the season while playing shortstop.
Whidden was just as impressive with the Irish, finishing her career tied for fourth place on the program's all-time home run list with 35 – the most ever by a Notre Dame catcher. She was also fifth in slugging percentage (.597), one of 17 Irish players to have a career on-base percentage of .400 or higher (.406), and posted the eighth-best fielding percentage (.989) in program history during her final two seasons as the team’s primary catcher.
Following a 4-4 start, the Falcons won 11 of their final 13 games of 2017 to enter the district tournament red hot before dropping a heart-breaking, 11-inning game at Bradenton Christian. There were a number of season highlights, including the first SSES win ever against Southeast High and sweeps of ODA, St. Pete Catholic, Indian Rocks Christian, Shorecrest Prep, and Imagine. Nearly every starter returns in 2018, including senior catcher Claudia Sbaschnik, who hit over .500 and led the team in extra base hits and RBI. Several middle schoolers played key roles last season. Rising eighth grader Julia Dodge was the No. 2 starter behind Amy Woodworth and went 5-2 with a 3.24 earned run average. Rising freshman Emma Craig hit over .400, was tied for second on the team in extra base hits, and third in RBI. Hailey Hurter, a rising eighth grader, hit .392. Woodworth (9-4, 1.85 ERA) has already been the team’s top starter for three seasons and is just a junior.
The Falcons play their home games at the beautiful Moore Athletic Complex on campus and are led by veteran Head Coach Mike Verrill, who has nearly 40 years of coaching experience on his resume. Verrill was previously the head baseball coach at Braden River High School and Out-of-Door Academy. Among other posts, he has also served as an assistant at Bowdoin College in Maine.
Softball is FHSAA sanctioned and is a spring season sport.