By Mariel Gousios, Lamar Caldwell, and Allen Gelfond
True to the Flames mascot, East Softball is quite literally on fire. With a two year long winning streak, it seems that nothing can stop this determined team—not even a global pandemic. Their season normally starts in March, but because of Covid-19, it was condensed to fit in a two month window beginning in May. The time that they would normally have to practice and feel out who works best where was saved for experimenting during gameplay. Despite the setbacks, the girls still have a positive attitude. Co-captain and shortstop Abbie Stellrecht said, “I think everyone’s a lot more grateful just to be on the field since our last season was nonexistent.”
Abbie says that the atmosphere of the team is “unselfish,” and “hardworking.” They all know that they can depend on each other to make the play and get the out, and with such good chemistry on and off the field, they continue to wow each other with outstanding performances.
Although the season is bitter-sweet with the cancellation of States Championships, the team still remains optimistic towards the games ahead. All of the players are disappointed that they won’t be able to compete on the state level, and while second baseman Briana Willick shares their sentiment, she also says, “I feel like not having States makes us focus more on who we’re playing and what we need to do to beat them.” It was this strong-willed attitude that made them the 2021 ECIC Division II Champions for the fourth year straight.
With six seniors graduating from the team, including two Division I commits, the initial response is to be concerned about the future of the team. However, the team seems to be in very capable hands as it has many younger players on the varsity team as well as promising junior varsity players coming up. Abbie says, “I feel like there’s a lot of JV players that are gonna step up to the plate and be able to replace the six or seven seniors graduating this year. I think they’re ready.”
Abbie and Briana shared some tips for future East players looking to do just that: “Enjoy the time that you have on this team, cause it goes by very fast. And put in as much work as possible, because it’s definitely worth it,” and of course, “play your heart out.”