By Julianna Munoz and Jace Roberts ’20
Ridley softball is determined to come out swinging, and hit the ground srunning for the 2017 season.
The new season comes with many young players that will make contributions to the team. Six out of the twelve players on varsity are freshmen, and they have adjusted well to the loss of last year’s seniors. Varsity head coach, Brooke Berger, says “we have gained 6 freshmen who each brings a uniqueness and eagerness to the team. Our returners bring experience and hunger to achieve. This year’s team is very young, but versatile.” The mix of new talent and experienced players is a formula for success.
The Raiders reached playoffs two years ago, and this year’s team has expectations of getting into playoffs and advancing.
The coaches are impressed by the cohesion of the young players working with more experienced players. “Even though we really just met each other, we already have a strong bond,” says Maggie Mello, a freshman pitcher on the JV softball team.
Senior Julia Buckley, is “excited, but a little nervous” about playing in her final year. The varsity first baseman is eagerly awaiting the opening of the season. “I hope we can make playoffs. It really depends on how we work together. You can have talent… it can work out, but you have to work together.”
One of the newest additions to Ridley softball is JV coach Molly Quinn. Mrs. Quinn, a 9th grade physics teacher, will use her experience as former catcher and center fielder to help guide the young Raider team. “There’s a lot of strong girls out there, a lot of talent. I think they’re an awesome team.”
Coach Quinn played high school softball for Upper Darby, and she has firsthand experience on what it’s like to play against Ridley. “Ridley has always had a really strong, good team spirit. I’ve always been really envious of Ridley. They’ve always had a really strong following.” Coach now hopes to instill her knowledge of catching and fielding onto her own team.
A major strength of the team this year is the pitching. Although last year the team only had one pitcher, now the expanded bullpen should bring a new fire to spark the team. In addition to senior Captain Leighann Jenkins, the team has three other pitchers: Morgan Chapman, Anna Torrens, and Brianna Tittermary (all freshmen).
Offense looks to be a strength for the team. “Our offense work has been similar in that we work fundamentals using tee drills, film, and live pitching to strengthen our bats,” says Varsity Coach Brooke Berger. Ashley Shanks and Heather Bogardus are offensive forces to be counted on. Sam Williams and Gabby DiNardo are also strong power hitters that are vital in the lineup.
No great team exists without great captains. Senior Heather Bogardus and junior Gabby DiNardo will lead the Ridley Varsity softball team. Heather is a knowledgeable center fielder that serves as a role model for the younger girls. Gabby has earned her captain position is a vocal leader that has the ability to keep the team focused.
The Ridley Raiders have a tough road ahead, but with the perseverance and drive the team possesses, they will succeed this season.