Despite integrating inexperienced players, softball’s team chemistry remains strong

March 17, 2023 — by Natalie Chua and Victoria Lin
Photo by Emma Fung
Junior second baseman Vivienne Brooks runs to first base.
The softball team started off strong with a win against Leigh High.

The girls’ softball team initially struggled to start their season strong due to an influx of inexperienced players — with the loss of some key players to graduation and no JV team due to low enrollment, the team was forced to merge the JV players into varsity. 

Since then, they’ve tried to bring all players to the same level by having varsity players coach a small cohort of one to three players who have little to no prior experience.

Their most recent game was against Palo Alto on March 22 (not covered here because of printing deadlines). They played Gunn on March 17 (also not covered because of printing deadlines). On March 15 against Monta Vista, they ended with a 13-3 win. The softball team had their first game of the season against Leigh High on March 7 in which they rallied back from a 6-3 deficit to win 7-6.

Currently, some top performers are senior first baseman Lily Guzman and Irene Frazier, sophomore pitcher Saira Ramakrishnan, and junior third baseman Vivienne Brooks. As there are about five remaining veterans on the team, it is up to them and coach Mike Davey to mentor the 11 newcomers.   

“We’ve been trying to teach the new girls the basics and getting a positive routine to feel comfortable with the environment,” Frazier said. 

Freshman second baseman Kate Vasquez, who joined softball after a year of playing recreationally, said that the team captains make her and other players feel included even when she hasn’t played in club softball before. 

“I think everyone’s really nice and welcoming, especially since I joined late from basketball. I never felt out of place on the team,” Vasquez said. 

During practice, new players learn the basics in batting, sliding and tracking the ball on the outfield. When they make mistakes or are confused on the field, veteran players walk them through the steps of plays. For Vasquez, she had Brooks assist her at second base. 

“I recently played second base on the team, so Vivienne was really helpful in helping me get used to the position,” Vasquez said. 

The team plans to train more for base running — a skill that they had trouble with during their first game. According to Guzman, a lot of it has to do with always thinking ahead, which can be difficult while the ball is moving so fast. 

However, the Falcons manage to work around the difficulties with their strong team chemistry and culture of encouragement. 

“It’s like a family. I feel like the energy of the game [against Leigh] was perfect. Everyone was involved and cheering,” Guzman said. 

The strong communication between players aids the team when it comes to their defense position. The team was usually able to prevent the ball from getting past the defense with good base players such as junior third base Nancy Lei, senior shortstop Syndey Rivera and Brooks communicating to block the offense. 

Last year, the team finished with a record of 14-7 but fell in the first round of CCS; they hope to repeat their success and qualify again this season. Off to a strong start with a current record of 2-0, good defensive plays and a strong team bond, the Falcons aspire to win CCS this year. 

“It’s my main goal to let these girls have fun,” Frazier said. “I really want a sisterhood bond this year because if they enjoy the game then they’ll play better.”

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