Softball aims for double digit wins with six seniors on varsity

Photo by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Sofia/" title="View all of this person's work">"Sofia</a></span>

Photo by Sofia Manekia

Organizing the team to best emphasize the skills of the six senior varsity players—Kelli Swedish ’16, Genna Garlock ’16, Emily DiLella ’16, Stephanie Wu ’16, Jordan Petrone ’16, and Natalie Campisi ’16—as well as maintaining enough players to play, has become this season’s challenge for the softball team.

Due to the small turnout at the beginning of the season, both junior varsity and varsity teams have lower numbers than usual. The junior varsity has only attracted a total of 13 players and, given the recent injury of outfield and infield player Bianca Guidi ’18  just before the season began, the varsity team is down to ten players on the team—just one player over the necessary nine for a game.

“We don’t have a lot of girls this year [so] if one of the [varsity players] gets sick or injured, we’ll have to pull some players up from JV,” said Head Coach Joe Boehm. Promising junior varsity players, such as Sydney Dubin ’17, Sophie Mann-Shafir ’18, and Gillian Nader ’18, may be moved to play varsity games.

At the same time, the team has been struggling with a dwindling group of underclassmen athletes. “I think we’re going to have a good program going forward, but our numbers will probably be low,” said Co-Captain Kelli Swedish ’15.

Photo by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Sofia/" title="View all of this person's work">"Sofia</a></span>

Photo by Sofia Manekia

Furthermore, there was a tangible social divide between the JV and varsity teams. JV and varsity generally practice separately, but this year the team has begun to regularly organize bonding events, such as meals at Panera Bread. “We need to be one big team,” said Nancy Gray ’17, shortstop player and pitcher. “We’re trying to bring both teams together.”

Despite their small numbers, the varsity team has found strength in its bonds developed over many seasons. “We’re more of a family [than a team]. We’ve grown closer over the years, and we know each other so well,” Gray said.

However, coordination in play has still been of some concern. “We’re each individually really good, but when we’re put together there is some confusion,” Gray said. “An important goal is that we need to become more adhesive as a team.”

Similarly, Swedish names maintaining contact as a challenge for this season. “If we keep open communication we should be fine [but] it’s going to be a little bit tricky,” Swedish said.

After winning 3–2 against Hamilton High School West in the first game of the season, the team has set a goal of winning more games—their previous record was 7–16 — and is on track with a recent 10–0 win against Lawrence High School. “I’d really like to get into the double digits for wins this year,” Boehm said. “If we play like I think we can, I think we can do it.”

In the end, Swedish remains hopeful on softball’s future at PHS. “Even though most of [the team] are sophomores and juniors, I think they’re just a really neat group of girls and they’re going to have a great dynamic in the coming years,” Swedish said. “In the end though, that doesn’t matter when you have girls who are able and willing to work hard and keep improving.”

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