With spring sports well underway at KO, the varsity softball team is off to a strong start, with a winning record of 5-1.
While many of KO’s athletic teams have found success this spring, softball has had a particularly dominant start to the season and is looking to carry this momentum into the rest of the season.
In preparation for league games, the team took part in two scrimmages against St. Paul Catholic High School and the Nobles and Greenough School. During these preseason face-offs, the team struggled, but these games provided the team with opportunities to grow and improve.
Reflecting on these early outings, senior outfielder Sophia Brunalli shared that the team has been honing their defensive skills in order to complement their already strong offense. “We’ve been working on cut-offs in the outfield,” she said. “Who we’re throwing to when we get the ball and never giving up on the ball. There’s always a second play to be made and more outs to be found, so we’re always looking for that second out.”
In addition to focusing on various areas of improvement, the team has also had to deal with more unusual challenges that come with being a small and young team. The team of 10 girls is composed of three middle schoolers, two freshmen, a sophomore, a junior, and three seniors. Since nine players must be on the field at once when fielding, there is a real possibility for scheduling issues to arise when one or more players can’t make a game, or even practice.
As a result of the relatively young demographic of players, the team has devoted lots of time to developing good team chemistry whether that be through bus rides to and from games, drills during practice, or even a team trip to Playa Bowls before the season started.
Although the team is young, their age has not stopped them from achieving early season success. In their first game against Greens Farms Academy, the Wyverns earned a decisive 14-3 victory, mercy-ruling their opponent in five innings. Key contributors in this game included senior pitcher Co-captain Kyra Dunnirvine who had a strong showing on the mound along with eighth-grade shortstop and pitcher Alexis Nysirios who had many key hits. Nysiros has continued to be an impact player in other games, scoring multiple home runs.
The team has gone on to pick up three more victories against NEPSAC opponents, including a 15-0 win over Taft, a team they lost to last season. Sophomore catcher Olivia Gallup described the team’s attitude heading into the game. “After playing them last year, we came back this season ready to win,” she said. “As a team, we want to play together as much as we can, build cohesion, and stay competitive.”
The team’s leadership, both from Dunnirvine and Co-captain Hailey Williams as well as the coaching staff, has also been an invaluable resource in fostering a positive and competitive environment. Gallup shared one of Head Coach Jason Bradley’s favorite mottos that sums up his coaching philosophy. “Coach always says we’re going to get 3% better every day,” she said. She added that the coaching staff, which also includes Assistant Coach Kiersten Skinner and Hitting Coach Rob Dagostino, is constantly helping the team improve by sharing insights and creating an open line of communication between players and coaches.
As the team looks ahead at the rest of the season, they’re aiming to continue their success and add to the “W” column in upcoming games against Kent and Marianapolis Preparatory School. More importantly, though, they hope to continue developing great team chemistry and having fun while playing together.