After an intense 5-4 win over Loomis Chaffee on May 15, KO’s softball team was crowned Founders League champions. Post-win celebrations included ringing the victory bell once they returned to campus and reflecting on the truly incredible season they’ve had this year; a fact that is only made more apparent by their impressive 10-3 record.
Although the accomplishment of being Founders League champions and 3rd ranked team in New Englands is a source of pride for many of the team’s members who devote hours each day to honing their skills, it is also a signal that the end of season is near. Especially for seniors, this end of an era is bittersweet. The team, however, is playoffs bound.
Reflecting on her time with the softball team, senior first-baseman and pitcher Co-captain Kyra Dunnirvine shared how being a member of the varsity team for six years has enabled her to grow as an athlete and leader. “Throughout the years, I’ve been able to see different leaders on the team and see how their strategies impacted the team for better or worse,” she said candidly. “Now that I’m a captain myself, this is so valuable because I’ve been able to use years of watching other leaders to determine how to handle different situations.”
Beyond lessons in leadership, Dunnirvine added that her experience with the softball team brought her close to people she otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play with, like students in the Middle School. She hopes that even after she has graduated, she will stay in touch with former teammates and friends.
While recounting her fondest memories of being on the team, Dunnirvine added that an 11-inning, 1-0 win over Westmister earlier in the season was one of her happiest moments. The team demonstrated serious grit and determination throughout the showdown, keeping their opponents from scoring runs and staying in the game long enough to come out on top. Dunnirvine cited the efforts of eighth-grade pitcher Alexis Nisyrios and senior shortstop and pitcher Co-captain Hailey Williams on the mound as being crucial components in their success.
Looking back on the season as a whole, Dunnivrine explained that the team’s schedule worked out in such a way that the level of competition grew as the season progressed, enabling the team to work out hiccups as they arose. “It allowed us to figure things out gradually,” she said. “We were able to get people into positions that gave everyone opportunities to play, but also gave us the best chance to succeed. This schedule also helped newer players get acclimated to the team.”
Nisyrios is one of the players who is new to the team. Even though she is an eighth-grader, her performances on the mound and field belie her age. The formidable skills she demonstrates during games are very much the result of her experiences in club softball which she has been playing since she was seven. Currently, she plays for the Rhode Island Thunder 14u National team, one of New England’s premier programs. Nisyrios is very committed to the sport and dedicates much of her time to getting better. “Practices on the weekends are typically four hours long,” she shared. “We travel a lot over the fall and summer throughout the Northeast but also to other parts of the country.”
Not only is Nisyrios already an impact player for Wyvern softball, but she’s also become close friends with many of the girls on the team, despite the age gap. This cohesion is the result of the team’s emphasis on developing team chemistry, which they work on both on and off the field.
Nisyrios explained that bus rides to and from games are times when some of the best team bonding takes place. “During our bus rides, we bring energy for our games,” she said. “We do each other’s hair and eye black and on the rides home, we jam out to music and have such a blast.”
Several softball athletes were honored with awards at the Spring Sports Assembly on Friday, May 19. Dunnirvine received the 6 Year Award, Williams won the 4 Year Award, and Brunalli received the 4 Year Award.
Clearly, KO softball has had a season to be incredibly proud of and many happy memories to look back on. We wish all of the graduating seniors all the best as they move on to the next chapter of their lives and know that the legacy they leave behind will set KO softball teams up for success for seasons to come. It is undeniable that this team’s future is bright and we can’t wait to see all they’ll accomplish next year and beyond.