Softball: Falcons lose in CCS quarterfinals after achieving 9-3 league record

May 31, 2023 — by Divya Vadlakonda and Beverly Xu
Courtesy of Dean Tatsuno
Junior Caitlin Weber steps up to bat at the softball team’s last league game away to Monta Vista. The team won 13-0.
Despite losing last year’s star seniors — Arya Taymuree, Morgan Curtis and Erin Wu — the softball team came together for a stronger season than any of them expected.

When star sophomore pitcher Saira Ramakrishnan threw the first pitch of the team’s first CCS game away at Santa Teresa on May 20, the Falcons were playing with house money: They had already achieved more than they expected to start the year.

“[We were thinking that] whatever happens will happen, we’re just gonna have to play our best and play hard,” Ramakrishnan said.

Although the team lost 9-1, they flourished in the El Camino League, experiencing a series of wins that placed them third with a 9-3 record.

According to junior right fielder Claire Weidner, their expectations were set low at the start of the season since they had become used to losing and had several new players The Falcons, coached by history teacher Mike Davey, seemed to change their mindset after the team flipped the score in their first preseason home game against Leigh, taking the lead to win 7-6 on March 7. They realized they could succeed, creating a tremendous positive impact on future performances. 

In Weidner’s eyes, softball games are one-third skill and two-thirds game mentality. From the prolonged, anxiety-inducing breaks on the bench to the feeling that each failed pitch or swing is an individual fault, Weidner believes that an optimistic mindset is crucial in winning games.

“In games where we’re down by a lot we tend to get down on ourselves really easily,” Ramakrishnan said. “But honestly, it really just takes one person to say something [positive] or help you out to [uplift our game].”

Ramakrishnan also mentioned how all four freshman players — Soumya Katkere, Vivan Lei, Katelynn Vasquez and Sandy Vavrousek — have greatly helped boost the team’s attitude through their rapid improvement during the season, which shone during team practices and games. With only Vavrousek and Vasquez having prior experience playing softball in elementary school, Davey started out the season by implementing extra practices to teach the four players the basics of throwing, hitting, fielding and base running. 

The practices proved to be effective, as each player improved considerably throughout the season. Freshman right and left fielder Soumya Katkere said that the criticism she received from the coaches on her swing, as well as the continuous drills to refine her catching and throwing, greatly aided in improving her skills. 

Due to the freshmen’s contributions in outfielding, pinch running and occasional hitting, combined with stronger leadership and guidance from both junior co-captain and second base Vivienne Brooks and senior co-captain and first base Lily Guzman, the players have had a much better season than they originally anticipated.

Looking ahead to the 2023-24 season, even with losing key senior players — Guzman and first baseman Irene Frazier — Davey believes that the increased participation from newcomers this year and remaining star players such as Ramakrishnan and current shortstop Sydney Riera will help the Falcons overcome any challenges next year brings them.

“We have a lot of inexperienced people who’ve gotten much better,” Davey said. “I’m really proud of how they contributed over the course of the season.”

Tags: ccs, softball
5 views this week