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Chemistry creates contenders

By Jonah Seifer
Published: April 2010

After nearly qualifying for the Dual County League (DCL) Softball tournament in its 2009 season, the Girls’ Softball team has returned to try to take a playoff berth this year.

Under the leadership of seniors and captains Abramowitz and Marissa Leavitt, as well as coaches Bob Cohen, Alan Kaplan, and Dave Salett, the team has begun practicing for the beginning of its 19 game season.

The team dropped its season opener to Bedford High School on Wednesday, April 7, but won the following game to set the season off on the right foot.

The 16-girl squad is not actually one team, but two. Because of the small number of players, the varsity and junior varsity teams practice as one.

Their joint practices are not a drawback, however, but an advantage.

Unlike most teams where the better players are segregated after tryouts by virtue of the varsity-junior varsity distinction, the girls on the Softball team are not subject to such classifications.

By avoiding clear divisions of talent, the overall confidence of their players is boosted which, in turn, boosts their performance.

Another benefit of the mixed junior varsity and varsity teams is that more experienced players are able to mentor and critique the form of newer players; the latter is especially useful in softball where incorrect form can be the difference between a foul and a home run.

With eight veterans and eight new players, such communal instruction will be more necessary than ever this season, especially because of last season’s interrupted journey to the DCL Softball tournament. “Last year we went 9-11, one game away from making the [DCL] tournament, Leavitt said.

With unrealized goals, however, comes room for improvement. “We also gained a lot. I’ve never been a part of such a large team, but I think we will use our size to our advantage, Leavitt said.

Kaplan also commented on what is shaping up to be a very well rounded team.

“Leavitt, Abramowitz, [senior] Andrea Trementozzi, and [senior] Emily Green should provide experience and major contributions toward an outstanding infield, he said.

“[Senior] Courtney Burns and [junior] Alexandra Fen are returning to the mound with a valuable year of starting experience under their belts. Juniors Emily Shames and Meryl Hayes provide our hitting lineup with plenty of wallop.

The coach also admits that due to the young outfield, pressure will be placed on the pitchers to prevent fly balls.

The Lions do boast a strong offense that has the ability to generate runs if the defense becomes a weakness.

In general, however, the team has tremendous confidence in its new players’ abilities.

“The newcomers provide depth and skill on the field, Kaplan said.

Though talent and athleticism are all important, they are worthless unless there are solid relationships between the players.

Kaplan has observed that this team’s other winning attribute is its strong chemistry. Every year the players take a trip down to Cape Cod during April break for three days and play a few scrimmages.

They also play their first game against their rival, Wayland, which in past years has been a very intense game.

“The trips are always very memorable because they are great for team bonding, Leavitt said.

The Girls’ Softball team, like many of the outdoor teams at South, will definitely be affected by the transition between old fields, and new ones.

Though still incomplete, the new field has already presented problems, the most significant of which is a 6-inch slope in the outfield grass.
It is hoped that, when finally completed, the new diamond will include a better drainage system to help with the rainwater that frequently had flooded the infield of the old field.

For now, the Girls’ Softball team readies for a potentially successful season with practices in Gym B at South and at Angier field.

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