Eastern Regional High School seniors Maddie Morano and Emily Serata have done a lot together on the softball field.
Both are four-year varsity players. They hit next to each other in the batting order, with Morano hitting second and Serata third. They also play next to each other in the outfield, with Morano manning center field and Serata playing in right field.
So it was only fitting the two would reach the same softball milestone in a span of 10 days.
Morano recorded her 100th career high school hit on April 25 with a single against Cherry Hill High School East. Serata followed suit on May 4 when she got her 100th career hit, a single against Cherry Hill High School West.
“We basically do everything together,” Serata said. “It’s really cool to share this.”
Morano and Serata’s 100th career hits were similar in some ways. Both recorded singles against one of the Cherry Hill high schools. Both also didn’t know when they reached the milestone.
“I didn’t realize it,” Serata said. “I knew I was close. Last night I asked my dad how close I was and he said a few more games.”
“I didn’t know it was my 100th hit either,” Morano said. “Everyone kind of surprised me and it was exciting.”
Eastern head coach Laura Paquette couldn’t recall another time where two girls in the same graduating class each recorded their 100th career hits in the same season.
“They’re really good friends off the field,” Paquette said. “Softball is Maddie’s second sport and she doesn’t play anywhere else. It’s nice that high school gives them the opportunity to play on the same field together and have that experience.”
Morano’s accomplishment is remarkable considering she only plays softball with the high school team. Morano is more known for her fall sport, field hockey, where she was named a National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-American. Morano will play field hockey in college at Penn State.
“It shows how much of an athlete she is to be able to do this in her second sport,” Paquette said.
Paquette described Serata as a hard worker who is constantly looking to improve her game.
“Emily puts in a lot of work,” Paquette said. “She’s one of the hardest workers I’ve coached in my career.”
Serata will play softball at Tufts University, one of the best softball schools in Division III. Tufts has won three straight Division III national championships.
“I want to be a biology major, so I wanted time for academics and a social life and softball,” Serata said.
Morano and Serata’s friendship is infectious on the Vikings. They both said this year’s team has camaraderie unmatched in previous seasons, which they said is the biggest reason for the team’s 17–2 record in 2016. The win over Cherry Hill West last Wednesday was the Vikings’ 15th in a row.
“We’re all having a great time on the field,” Morano said. “It’s more about going out there and having fun and less going out there and feeling like you need to get a hit.”
“It’s also important that this core of girls have been playing together for a long time,” Serata said. “There’s five seniors who have been playing varsity the past three years.”
Morano and Serata have only a few more weeks left to play softball together before their senior seasons end. Both agreed they want their final year to end on a high note with a state championship, something the Vikings last accomplished in 2012.
“The conference and South Jersey is up in the air right now,” Morano said. “The way that we’re playing, it would be awesome to achieve it with this group of girls.”