Spring is here and the 2016 Softball Season is underway. The San Lorenzo Valley Cougar Varsity and Junior Varsity teams are excited and ready to make a run towards the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League title. Both teams have started their seasons very strong, with records of 8-3 (Varsity) and 6-2 (Junior Varsity).
“We’ve started off at a slower pace this season,” says senior Alli Pooré. “We’ve had a lot of team members that came up from junior varsity this season so there’s been a different pace and different level of play then we’ve had in past years, but we’re definitely improving all the time.”
The Varsity squad gets along very well together in practices, games, and off the field as well. Cope says, “We all collaborate well together.” Pooré agrees and adds that many of the team members have known each other for a long time and that many have played together since they were very young.
Although the team only had one full week of practice together before playing their first game, they were able to do well quickly due to their leadership and past experiences.
The Varsity coaching staff is another key to their success. Head Coach is Mark Brown and is aided by Sean Castagna and Charlie Hensley. The coaches are very serious about teaching the girls what they need to know on the field, but also know how to mix it up and make every day fun.
“All of the coaches are great to work with,” says sophomore Ashley Welch. “Working with Coach Brown has helped me improve many parts of my game.”
The Junior Varsity team has been having just as good of a time as the Varsity team in the beginning of their season. The year already has a positive outlook to it and the team has great potential.
Not only is the team making strides on the field and at the plate, the freshman squad is learning what it means to be a member of the SLV Cougar Softball program. “The team is really coming together well. With the small roster numbers, (the team only has 10 active players this season) everyone is getting lots of playing time which translates to lots of learning,” says Junior Varsity assistant coach, Jessica Carter.
The coaches are very appreciated by the JV players. All of the players look up to Coach Judy Wells and Coach Carter. They have taught the girls so much in a short time and are a really big part of the beginning success this team has had. “I really love the coaches. They’ve been amazing this year,” freshman Kaelynn Gregory reflects.
Team chemistry has also lead the Junior Varsity team to victory in a few of their close games. Everyday is filled with laughs and fun, but they never let their focus break when the game is on the line. Sophomore Lauren Lozier says, “The girls have been very nice and we have really great chemistry together. We have a lot of skill and I think we’ll go far.”
One of the best things about the Cougar Softball program is that the two teams always have each others backs. The older players have been great role models for the younger players and because of that the younger players have a clear understanding of what it means to wear the red and the black that represents Cougar Softball.
By Courtney Carter