As the majority of the population continues to get vaccinated for COVID-19, many healthy and safety protocols are being lifted not only for facilities throughout Connecticut, but also for the KO varsity softball team. After losing a season’s worth of practices and games last year, the team has been working harder than ever to improve, and their work seems to be paying off.
So far, they’ve had a string of impressive wins. The team started the season off strong, beating Hopkins School 13-5, speaking to the talent and ability of their players and their strong team dynamic. Sophomore shortstop Hailey Williams explained the team’s strategy for improvement. “We don’t have a set practice to prepare for a game, but we usually just work on things that we need to work on from the last game or our next game,” she said.
At each practice, the team tries to focus on areas in which they need to improve from their last game. Head Coach Jason Bradley explained his ideal practice. “Everybody’s moving around, and we don’t have any kids standing still,” he said. “That’s our number one objective. We really want to try to keep kids busy the whole time.”
His strategy seems to be effective when looking at their past games. Most recently, they played against the Master’s School and won 30-5. Some standout players included junior Gabrielle Abramson, who pitched 6 strikeouts.
“We strive to do our best in games and try to win,” sophomore pitcher Kyra Dunnirvine said. This hard work definitely seems to be paying off, as their overall record is 4-2.
Sophomore outfielder Sophia Brunalli explained that, as a team, their main objective this season was to beat Marianapolis Prep. Unfortunately, they lost both games against Marianapolis, first losing 6-3 and then 9-6. However, they got much closer to their goal of beating Marianapolis than in years past. “Objectively, we want to try to win every year, but competing comes first,” Coach Bradley said. “We want to be able to be competitive. If we’re competitive, the wins will come.”
Their record is already extremely impressive, and hopefully if they keep up the good work, they will be able to achieve all of their goals next year.
This year, the girls had to get used to catching, running, and batting in masks. Luckily, mask-wearing has not negatively affected their performance in any way. “As far as the pandemic goes, we really just tried to follow all the protocols within our team so that we can make sure that we complete the season, because that’s the objective of our program, which is to play games and practice,” Coach Bradley said.
Since they were not able to play in the Founders League this year, the softball team has also gotten used to having more games against schools from all over the state. Coach Bradley described this change as a new opportunity for the softball team to learn to adapt their techniques when playing against different teams that they had previously never played against.
Aside from mask wearing and schedule changes, COVID-19 restrictions luckily have not impacted the softball team too much. Players normally stand far apart in games and practices, which is optimal with COVID-19 restrictions.
Dunnirvine was able to speak to the team’s goals despite everything they have had to face in the past year. “I think our objectives for most seasons are just to work hard and try to be the best team that we can be throughout the season.”
The softball team has done a great job, and hopefully they can finish off the season strong with their last game against St. Luke’s School.