Freshmen on varsity softball adjust to team

May 3, 2017 — by Leena Elzeiny and Elaine Fan

Facing each other on the softball field, freshman shortstop Hannah Beine and freshman first baseman Ella Parr deftly throw a ball back and forth, warming up for practice. When Parr makes a mistake, the team laughs it off, and Parr good-naturedly joins in.

“They are all goofballs,” softball assistant coach Mike Davey said. “We take it upon ourselves to make fun of Ella as much as we can, but she is really good natured about it. Hannah laughs at Ella too, so that is fun.”

The girls’ varsity softball team has adjusted to the elevation of Rachel Davey as the team’s main pitcher and multiple freshman additions and have maintained a streak of wins after a strong start to the season, with a league record of 8-1 as of April 27.

This year, three freshmen are on the varsity team: Parr, Beine and outfielder Morgan Wooley. They have been members of the South Bay Quakes, a year-round competitive club softball team, since seventh grade. Parr and Beine’s relationship goes back to when they both started playing with Magic, the 8-year-old-and-under softball club that feeds into Quakes.

According to Beine, playing softball on the school team has been a different experience because she sees her teammates on campus every day instead of only on the weekends. As a result, Beine has grown a lot closer with the upperclassmen on the team.

For Parr, entering varsity meant that she had older, more experienced members to look up to, in contrast to club softball where she normally plays with people in the same age range.

“I’m a freshman, so that’s a three-year difference,” Parr said. “They know more, and so that’s always nice to have a different aspect, a different field of view.”

She also appreciates how playing on the school team is laid back and “more about loving the sport,” whereas playing in club softball is usually more stressful because it’s highly competitive.

Wooley has also grown to love playing on varsity.

“With varsity, we are getting really close, so it’s going to be hard to say goodbye to all of the seniors,” Wooley said.

The Falcons began to close their league season on April 28 with another win against Gunn High, 5-1. Saratoga only needs to win two more games in order to make it to CCS, which begin May 17.

The girls have continued their winning streak with five consecutive wins at league games, scoring 15-4 against Gunn on April 15, 6-2 against Milpitas on April 19, 6-4 against Palo Alto on April 21 and 16-1 against Lynbrook on April 26. With only one loss against Milpitas in their 8-1 record, the girls came out as the  victors in their second game against Milpitas, breaking the Trojans’ perfect record, and tying them for first in the league.

Going into spring break, the girls had two league wins in a row, scoring 11-1 against Lynbrook on March 29 and 5-4 against Cupertino on March 31.

In a tense game at Cupertino, the team was down three players due to injuries and absences, and was left with only one substitute. Players had to step up in hitting spots and different field positions.

“We talked about mental toughness. We could have used our situation as an excuse, but that doesn’t do anything,” Mike Davey said. “You have to play with what you got and tough it out.”

In the end, the girls eventually won a 5-4 victory over Cupertino.

“It was a really good learning experience for us to know that we could work without our main players or only have one sub,” Parr said.

The girls attributed their success to strong team chemistry, good communication and trust among the players.

“We are a very close knit group and have girls from all the different grades,” Rachel Davey said. “Everyone on the team contributes a role, so it's nice that everyone plays an important part to winning games.”

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