Small Squad Has Big Plans

Isabel Owens, News Editor

Girls’ varsity softball tryouts were held the week of February 8. With 5 returning players, senior Grace Deskin, sophomores Abigail Morris and Ashley Thoms, and juniors Sydni Gordon and Nia Harper, there will be “just enough for a varsity team,” said Deskin.

Coaches Wayne Stephens, Steve Mitolo, and John Fondnazio will return for their 2nd season as coaches for the program, and Deskin will captain the team with another player yet to be appointed.

According to Harper, last year’s season ended “1 win away from entering the NCS playoffs.” This year, she is hopeful the team will advance deep into the tournament. “My prediction for this year is that we will come together more as a team and be able to win a few more games and hopefully get further than we did last year. We have a lot of potential and hopefully we will make it far,” she said.

The team attempted to establish a winter conditioning program before tryouts this year, but due to a poor turnout it was canceled. “Last year we had conditioning which a lot of new girls came to, but this year only a few new girls came and it was mostly just returning players who don’t play a winter sport,” said Deskin.

“We got mostly new freshmen [at conditioning],” said Gordon. “I think [tryouts] will go well. I think we will get a good turnout and good players as well. We did okay last year but hopefully we do better this year because we have people who have played for many years. Last year we had more 1st time players.”

“We are planning to hang posters and I know there are a couple freshmen that will be there,” added Harper.

Although the team is in need of new players, Harper said that tryouts will not necessarily be easy. “I think we want as many players as possible, but players that will benefit the team, so it depends on the outcome,” she said.

Tryouts will “last a few days,” said Deskin, and then practice will begin.

Deskin said that she is most excited to reconnect with the team for her last high school season. “Last year we had really good chemistry so I think we’ll have that again this year. That’s a big part of what makes it fun, because if your teammates are your friends then it’ll be fun whether we win or lose, and we can help each other improve,” she said.

“I’m most excited to be able to play and bond with a great group of girls. but I think learning how to play with new girls and being able to communicate and work with each other on the field might be difficult,” Harper said, “but that’s something I’m sure we will get past.”

Harper’s personal goal is to spend more time on the field this year. “Last season I was suffering from an injury and didn’t get to play very much, so this season I hope to get back into the game and be able to play and contribute to my team’s success more than I was able to last year,” she explained.

According to Deskin, the greatest difficulty they face this season may be the loss of last year’s pitcher, Charlotte McNeil. “Our pitcher graduated last year, and the game pretty much revolves around the pitcher. One of our returning players Abby Morris has been working on her pitching so I’m hopeful that her hard work will pay off.”

Morris has been “working hard with the coaches as well,” said Gordon, who believes that Morris will be able to step up to the plate and “give all she can give.”