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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

New coach’s regimen leads to results

“Hey! Keep going! Don’t stop now!!”

The new, energetic softball coach Chris Smith shouts these words in an attempt to keep the girls focused as they push through the last round of sprints in their three-hour practice.

In his first year as the varsity coach, Smith has proved to be both a tough disciplinarian and an encouraging mentor.

“He’s been awesome,” senior catcher Analisa Ruff said. “We have really good and effective three-hour practices every day and we get a lot done.”

The practices have led the team to win all six of their games from March 6 to 16.
However, the team lost 7-3 to Homestead on March 26. Homestead got off to an early 7-0 lead after the second inning, and the Falcons couldn’t catch up.

“We didn’t start the game ready,” sophomore center fielder Natasha Ramakrishnan said. “We waited until the end of the game to start hitting.”

On March 14, the Falcons faced Sacred Heart Cathedral, a private school known to be tough. However, by the end of the afternoon, the Falcons were victorious, once again, winning 6-3.

“Sacred Heart plays in the very difficult Catholic League, and so a win against them was very remarkable,” Ramakrishnan said.

Lee scored four RBIs, and junior pitcher and shortstop Eleni Spirakis pitched all seven innings with four strikeouts and one earned run.

The team also had a close game with Cupertino on March 11 with a final score of 14-13.

Saratoga was down by 13-3 in the fifth inning, falling far behind Cupertino. As each inning progressed, they slowly clawed back and were tied 13-13 in the second to last inning. Spirakis scored a walk-off home run in the ninth inning, solidifying the Falcons’ win.

Smith has revamped the team’s practices to incorporate more cardio workouts, while also maintaining a strict schedule.

“Everything in practice is timed out to the minute,” junior Ellie Lee said. “He is always trying to keep us focused.”

Using a whiteboard, Smith has written down the allotted time frames for each activity.

The first eight minutes of practice are dedicated to running. Next is an extensive stretching routine that includes both static and dynamic poses. While static stretching only requires the athlete to hold a position in place, dynamic stretching incorporates stretches with active movements such as running.

After the girls practice their throwing technique for an additional 20 minutes, they do field and batting exercises and end the workout with sprints or a mile run.

The efforts put into practice are reflected in the team’s strong start in the season. Ruff said that by constantly repeating technique drills, the team has been more prepared in games.

“Our practices help us get ready for game situations and provide us with repetition, which gets us better every day,” Ruff said.

With more communication drills and exercises, the team has become more comfortable with each other on the field, playing a part in their success.

Looking forward to the rest of the season, the Falcons hope to maintain their record.

“My goal is to win a lot of games this season and do as best as we can,” sophomore shortstop and pitcher Rachel Davey said.   

The team played Sobrato on March 28 and Los Gatos on March 31, but the Falcon could not include the results of these games due to printing deadlines. The team will play Los Altos on April 14 and Gunn on April 16.

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