A yellow softball cracks off the bat and sends base runners into motion. On the other side of the field, a ball soars toward an outfielder waiting to make the catch. The ball falls into the player’s glove and the outfielders run in towards the dugout. A coach congratulates the players for their hard work, and the practice comes to an end.
Last year, the Little Tigers softball team set a school record with 11 wins, and won a Mercer County Tournament game. This year, the team hopes to challenge that record, and win a State Tournament game. The girls, however, have started this season with a record of 2–4, and they will need to overcome numerous obstacles to achieve this goal. To add to this, only three of last year’s starters have returned to the team. “It will be a learning process for the other six,” said Head Coach David Boehm.
To make that process easier for the new starters, the captains “are are really stressing team bonding this year,” said senior captain Jessie Campisi ’14. “It’s important to know if you make a mistake, someone else is going to pick you up.”
Although the lack of experience may be hindering this year’s team, the hope is that future squads will be stronger as a result. “The team has a lot of talent to start with, so going into the future [the talent] will really help us,” said Katie Kanter ’14.
Another main focus of the program is becoming a better team defensively. To do this, the girls practice fielding everyday.
Time is of the essence in terms of achieving these goals as the team approaches the heart of its season. “We have to really fix things now … [because] we’ve got five games a week [coming up.] It’s not going to be easy to fix things during the middle of that run,” said Boehm.
One strength of this year’s team is its hitting. “From freshmen to seniors, we’re all hitting the ball really well, which used to be our Achilles heel … We just need to pull out the hits when we need them most: with runners on base,” said Campisi.
The members are confident that if they improve their basics and play to their best ability, they can be successful. “The girls [just] have to get it together and rise up for the occasion,” said Boehm.
“If we work on the fundamentals, being a cleaner, faster team, I think we can gain the consistency that we need to go really far,” said Campisi.