Softball team enjoys success after struggles

WILBRAHAM -- Early into the 2010 year a group of 13 softball players and three coaches came together to prepare for the upcoming NEYSA season.

At that time, this group of one ninth grader, nine eighth graders and three seventh graders had no idea what was in store for them.

The team worked hard on drills, softball fundamentals and increasing their athleticism. They scheduled and won both pre-season games against a U16 Springfield team and a team combined with junior varsity and varsity players from a local high school.

Unfortunately, when the season began, this group of eager players struggled to fully reach their potential as the games continued to result in losses. The majority of the losses were close games that ended in heartbreaking two-run deficits. Neither the fans nor the opponents were seeing the full results of the dedication and hard work that was demonstrated in practice.

Then came the climax of the season, which even Hollywood could not have scripted any better.

The climax was yet another loss, however, it was a 10-inning loss to the only undefeated team in the league and in the post-game huddle, one of the 13 players said to the rest of the team, "If we can play like this against this team, we can play like this against anyone!"

And so it began, the comeback that brought with it a four-game winning streak, including an 11-3 win over an opponent that previously beat us and the ultimate ascension from last place in the league to a playoff spot. They won the final game of the season, finished in third place. From there, they went on to knock the second place team out of the playoffs and advance to the finals.

They lost in the championship finals; however, the team spirit was as high as the 90 degree temperatures.

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