Softball team strikes out after losing seven seniors

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Softball team strikes out after losing seven seniors

Freshman Sadie Leonard practices hitting.

Freshman Sadie Leonard practices hitting.

PJ Pfeiffer

Freshman Sadie Leonard practices hitting.

PJ Pfeiffer

PJ Pfeiffer

Freshman Sadie Leonard practices hitting.

PJ Pfeiffer

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After losing in the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) finals last year, the girls’ varsity softball team experienced another upset when seven team members graduated last summer. Three of the graduated seniors are now playing collegiate softball, leaving behind a team consisting predominantly of underclassmen who are new to the varsity team.

Senior Alexis Gero has been playing softball for thirteen years and has been on varsity since her junior year. She is now stepping up to support the young team and build a positive dynamic between the new and returning players.

“Last year all the seniors were captains. Losing all of that and not having any new leadership was difficult, so all the younger girls have really stepped up. The freshmen have been a huge asset coming in. They’ve really stepped it up this year,” Gero said.

PJ Pfeiffer
Freshman Katie Leonard hits the pitch thrown by Coach Emily Atkinson.

Since many players are new to the team, the group needs to focus on developing strong connections to help the team succeed and make playoffs, according to Gero. They are hoping they can use this year for improvement and be ready to defeat their opponents next season and get closer to winning MCALs, which is their end goal.

“[We] need to put an emphasis on creating a really strong team dynamic,” Gero said. “That is why during the preseason, we did a lot of team bonding and team dinners so everyone was friends going into the season and we would have really good chemistry and bond together.”

Freshman Katie Connors has played softball for seven years, and is excited to be on this years’ varsity team. Connors is grateful that the returning players have created a welcoming environment so she and the other rookie varsity players feel a part of the team.

“[Being a freshman], it doesn’t feel that different, we’re all just really close and it doesn’t feel like I’m one of only two freshmen,” Connors said.

PJ Pfeiffer
Freshman Katie Connors hits the ball at practice.

Now that there are fewer upperclassmen, the team does not have one specific leader, or captain. According to Connors, the whole team does their jobs effectively despite having no clear leadership. For example, the seniors help out the freshmen and the catcher helps out the other catchers, etc. if they’re struggling, no one really stands out. According to Connors, everyone on the team is equal and there is no sense of hierarchy between upper and lower classmen.

Along with the players, the varsity coaches also understand that this is a year to rebuild the team. According to Head Coach Emily Atkinson, the coaches are providing everybody with the opportunity to play and showcase their abilities. Atkinson has coached the team for the past 12 seasons and is ready to see this years team grow even more and work well together throughout the season.

Atkinson is not worried about the team’s success this year. She just wants the team to grow and get better, so they will be ready for upcoming seasons.

“[They will] grow throughout the season. [They] need to make sure that they understand that they can [make playoffs],” Atkinson said. “We’re just trying to empower the new girls to find their potential.”