WHHS Softball Prepares for Comeback Season

Kassandra Marron, Co-Sports Editor

The West Haven High School softball team is looking to make a comeback as they take on a new schedule, featuring teams they have not faced in recent seasons. They play Guilford and Shelton for the first time since 2016, and defending state champions Amity.

Last season the team fell short of the goals they set out to achieve at the beginning of the season. They failed to make it into the SCC tournament and were not able to come together as a team to beat heavy contenders such as North Haven, Hand, and Sacred Heart Academy. They finished the season with an 11-9 record and went 1-1 in the state tournament with a devastating loss to E.O. Smith in the second round.

Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske
Team huddle between innings against East Haven

They will be facing the East Haven Yellowjackets again who they went 1-1 against, with the win gaining them a spot in the states tournament. They will also go against the Hamden Green Dragons who they heartbreakingly lost to on the road by a score of 6-5. They then came back and beat them handily 17-5 at their home field.

To prepare for the comeback, the softball girls have been training non-stop during the off-season by reporting twice a week to Core Performance, a training facility for athletes. The girls also have the opportunity to play in a fall and winter league to keep them playing and honing their skills. There are also practices held in the winter in the high school gym to help work out kinks the girls may have before the regular season.

Head coach Joe Morrell said he “expected a little bit more last year” due to the 2017 season being such a great year for the team.

Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske
Coach Joe Morrell giving signs to a batter at Oxford

“I expected to make the next step forward,” he said, adding that he wasn’t totally disappointed by the team but does expect them to go further this year.

Coach Morrell also commented that the girls “need to become a team nice and early.” They battled with that early on last year and it caused them some problems.

Bridget Figmic, the assistant coach, referred to the previous season as a “learning experience.”

Coach Figmic stated that the players “were capable of more than our record showed and have the opportunity to learn from last season and apply what we’ve learned into this season.”

Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske
Coach Bridget Figmic giving Kailey Carrano a high five after reaching first base against O’Brien Tech.

Coach Figmic also stressed the importance of the mental aspect of the game, something the team struggles with a lot.

“We can practice the physical things day in and day out, but this game is very mental,” she said. “If we are not able to handle failure, learn from it, and move on rapidly, we will not succeed.”

Kailey Carrano, the senior third baseman, has been on varsity her entire high school career. Going into her final high school season, she takes last year’s season into major consideration when preparing during the off season.

“This season is very important to me and the other seniors because it’s our last season playing together,” she said. “I want to end this year with a bang.”

Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske
Seniors left to right. Veronica Lynn, Kailey Carrano, Ashlyn O’Keefe, Kassandra Marron, Morgan Peryer

Coach Morrell, Coach Figmic, and Carrano all agree that preparing during the off-season is very important for the team, not only for the physicality but for the team to come together early on. All three also agree that the biggest goal for the team this year is to not only make the SCC and state tournament, but to have home field advantage for both.

“Obviously we want to make the state tournament and have a home game in the state tournament, something we failed to do last year,” Coach Morrell point out without hesitation. “We want to make the SCC, something we failed to do. And we are still trying to get that second win in the state tournament, something we failed to do.”

It is no secret that the team has a long way to go before the regular season starts in March, however, there is no doubt that the team can come together and combine their talents to form a team-to-beat. They are capable of making noise in the SCC and state and going for a long run in the playoffs. Working hard, together, and fearlessly is the formula the team needs to have a season for the history books: the comeback season.