The girls varsity softball team is no stranger to success. For the second year in a row, the varsity softball team took home the Western New England Prep School Girls Softball Association [WNEPSGSA] Class C Championship title—with senior pitcher Emma Gailey snagging her 704th strike-out for her Academy career. Sunday’s game versus Chase Collegiate was another victory for the books as months of preparation culminated in a 7-0 championship win.
The team’s success can be traced directly back to the middle of the winter—as many of the team’s players set their alarms for 5:45am in order to make it to the gym for 6:30am pre-season work-outs. Heading to Orlando, Florida, during Spring Break, the team trained and played a series of games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports for a week in anticipation of the regular season.
“Winter practices and our Florida trip were huge factors in the team’s success this year—but the main thing that out team has is heart. Their work ethic is pretty high—they all wanted to work more off the field than on the field,” says softball coach Sam Cieri.
Heading into the WNEPSGSA Championship game on Sunday, the months of training and dedication was evident as the Cats took the field. Gailey ’14 allowed five hits with seven strikeouts off the bat, while Kayla Padroff ’14 brought in 2 runs, Devin Morrison ’15 added two hits and a run, Chaela Branciforte ’14 had 2 runs, Mckenzie Pelletier ’15 brought in three RBI’s, and Gailey added 2 RBI’s.
“The excitement on the field in the last inning was awesome, and everyone was cheering with a smile on their face,” recalls junior player Anni Garvi. “I think the biggest factors contributing to the team’s success this year was everyone working together and keeping their eye on the same goal, which was the championship title. Also, everyone was upbeat and never got down if they made an error. Everyone was always positive,” she adds.
While four key senior players will be moving on this year, Cieri has high hopes for next spring. “Winning is contagious—they are going to keep at it. We have a lot of talent on the team, and our seniors have been an excellent example to the younger girls,” she reflects.
Athletic Director Brett Torrey states, “this was absolutely outstanding for our girls, to not only win, but to completely shut out Chase Collegiate in the championship game--and very impressive that Emma Gailey had 704 career strikeouts in her time here at the Academy. It was an exceptional season.”
During the 13 game season, Cieri notes, the fans were another tremendous asset to the team. “I don’t think there was a single game where we didn’t have family and friends in the stands,” she comments. “A big thank you to the whole Cheshire Academy community, to the Athletic Department, and to Coach Greene—this was our first year coaching together, and I couldn’t have asked for a better coach to work with.”