Low attendance doesn’t deter team’s demeanor

Matthew Mulcahy

Softball isn’t Redwood’s mainstream sport. For basketball’s Leadership-sponsored game nights, the stands are heavily occupied by Redwood students. According to the varsity softball team’s senior captain and a four-year varsity softball player, Sabrina Nunez, this doesn’t seem the case for Redwood softball games.  However, the program’s underrepresentation in the Redwood community isn’t something that will deter the players from playing the sport of softball as a team with passion.

“The only time we’ve had students at our games was on Game Night, when the leadership students had to come to our game to get points,” Nunez said. “That was a really fun game, and it created good vibes so it should be more represented [to the student body].”

Attentively calling pitches, junior Mandy Weitenhagen takes a quick look to the dugout.
Attentively calling pitches, junior Mandy Weitenhagen takes a quick look towards the dugout.

Players on both varsity and junior varsity don’t appear to be bothered by the underrepresentation and approach the “under the radar” part of softball as a mere addition to playing the game. Three-year varsity softball player and junior Annie Connors noted that the lessened attention to the sport doesn’t affect the team’s mindset when on the field.

“We don’t get a lot of attention, but it’s fine. Not a lot of people know that we have a softball team or they do know but don’t really care,” Connors said. “Although it’s okay because we play for ourselves, not them.”

Freshman junior varsity pitcher, Kennedy Dora, dismissed the concept of insufficient attention to the softball program. Instead, she proceeded to talk about the team chemistry which she valued more than any attention paid to the team.

“We’re tight knit, I wouldn’t say people just show up, they play with a purpose,” Dora said.

Nunez experienced a different style of team building as a freshman on the varsity team than she has experienced as an upperclassman on the varsity team this season.  Nunez noted that differences in age and maturity among the varsity team made it hard for the teammates to bond. Nunez hopes to avoid this gap throughout this season.

Nunez aims to unify both upper and lower classmen by leading through example. The team’s senior captain is constantly on the field, encouraging teammates after they make mistakes and displaying a true passion through for the game with her play. Nunez hopes that her positivity and passion for the game will encourage her teammates and bring them together by spreading positive morale.  

Preparing for the pitch, junior Dalton Jatsek readies herself.

The program has also put an emphasis on playing with passion for the love of the sport and enjoying the softball experience as a team according to Dora, Connors and Nunez. All of them stress the importance of the team over the individual.

This atmosphere could be attributed to the recently deceased Redwood coach, Gary Casassa. In Casassa’s eyes, the game of softball was not about how many tally marks fell under the “W” column of the local newspaper or how many pennants the team hung in the Redwood gym, according to Nunez. As a team leader, Nunez hopes to spread this mindset throughout the program.

“We’re playing to do our best, to make him happy. That’s what Gary [Casassa] would have wanted,” Nunez said.

Connors notes that the team definitely has the potential to win the MCAL division. However, Connors, Nunez and Dora all acknowledged that winning is ideal, but playing as a team and creating a special bond with their teammates is something that each of them cherish.