The KO softball team opened up this year with a strong performance against Wilbraham and Monson Academy on Monday, April 4.
This is a young team composed of six freshmen and one seventh-grader. Head Coach Jason Bradley said he was surprised by such an excellent performance from his young team. The composition of this year’s softball team might not have the most experience, but Coach Bradley is optimistic and sees great potential in all of his young players.
“This team has a lot of potential simply because how young it is,” said Coach Bradley. “This team has the most potential of all the teams I’ve had in the three years I’ve been coaching at KO.”
That potential clearly showed in their first game with a strong hitting performance that helped the Wyverns score 18 runs. That, accompanied by great defense and excellent pitching by senior Co-captain pitcher Noelani Jackson-Sherman helped the Wyverns secure their first victory with a score of 18-3.
The second game for the Wyverns on Wednesday, April 11, was against the talented Ethel Walker School, the runner up in the championship last year. The girls fell short in this matchup, losing by a score of 5-1. This outcome, however, doesn’t represent how well the team played according to Coach Bradley, as he believed that his team played excellent defense and just wasn’t able to convert in times with people on base.
The third game for the softball team was on Saturday, April 14, against Cheshire Academy, last year’s division champs. The Wyverns struggled on offense that day as they only had one hit, and the final score of the game was 13-0 in favor of Cheshire.
Coach Bradley and his players are still optimistic and looking forward to the rest of their season. Senior Co-captain shortstop and center Dakota McMahon said she has seen great improvement in the team so far this year, and she said if everyone is willing to work that she has high hopes on making it to the playoffs this year.
Everyone on this team seems willing to put in that work and buying into the three percent a day mindset. This mindset is that you don’t need to become a superstar overnight, but just work hard and get a little better everyday. “Three percent can be anything,” said Coach Bradley. “It can be physically, offensively, defensively, mentally; it can be anywhere where you need and want to improve.” This mindset is helping the young players on the team come around to the game quickly, but the fundamentals still have to be a focus for this young squad.
According to McMahon, the team has been working on signals so the team can communicate on the field. Coach Bradley said that is one of the focal points of this season because softball is such a complex game and has so many different in-game situations.
McMahon also said that offense is something they need to work on this season. “Our offense has gotten a little bit better,” said McMahon, “but it is still a spot we need to improve.” The team is optimistic about this though as they also believe that the new coach, Assistant Coach Lauren Yaffa, is going to be able to help the team.
The focus for this year’s team is developing the young talent they have while remaining to be competitive, which can be a difficult task, but Coach Bradley said he believes that his seniors will be able to lead the team well. He believes that his seniors will be able to help the younger players develop so the team will also be strong in years to follow.
This year’s softball team is going to be competitive on the field, but it will also be the start of a new chapter for KO softball.
This season marks a period of new beginnings, and with the help of the coaches and the seniors this team will continue to improve, as they strive to get three percent better each day.