Written by Andy Newman, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
Elimination in the first-round of the county playoffs, though disappointing, can’t take anything away from what the Schreiber High School girls softball team accomplished this year, according to coach Eric Sutz.
A comparison between what happened to the team last year and what the team did this year is a study in contrasts. “Last year we didn’t win one league game,” Sutz explained. “This year we were undefeated in the league.” The Vikings won all 14 of their league games and were 15-4 overall. They were conference champions for the first time since 2004.
“This group has been through adversity together,” he said. “There were a lot of injuries last year. That didn’t let them reach their potential. But they didn’t stop working even through the offseason. What made it so special was that their perseverance paid off. It was a great lesson for them to learn in life for all the other things they’re going to do in their lives, far from softball.”
“I think the kids are so special because they’ve grown up with the program,” he continued. “We’ve been through some struggles together.”
Sutz also attributes a lot of the team’s success to his “core four,” co-captain Jackie Avila (catcher), Elisabeth Kostallas (second base, shortstop), Georgia Goodman (left field) and Sara Marinelli (center field). They’re the only four seniors on the team. Avila and Marinelli have played for Schreiber for four years. Kostallas and Goodman have played three.
”What I said to those four girls the other night after the loss (5-0 to Carey in the playoffs) was to thank them,” the coach said. “They have to understand how far they’ve brought the program along. And because of them we are in better shape than we’ve ever been.”
Carey was only ahead by two runs when Schreiber loaded the bases with two out in the fourth inning. A line drive ended the rally. “While they were disappointed in losing,” the coach added, “they were definitely appreciative of the experience and of the competitiveness of the situation. When Carey walked off the field they knew that they had fought a battle with us.”
“I’ve always have said to my players,” he continued, “that one of the ways that you should really use to evaluate yourself is to ask when you start the program and when you leave the program, have you left the program in a better place? And they have.”
The team had 20 players on the roster, instead of the usual 15, as not enough candidates turned out to field a junior varsity. Sutz, who has coached the team for five years, now looks ahead and sees co-captain and all-county pitcher Alex Caprariello as next year’s leader. “She’s a great kid and has been with us since the 8th grade,” explained Sutz. “She’s really grown up with me in the program.”
Caprariello, a junior, is the conference’s only all-county designee. She was also selected last year. Her pitching statistics were tempered by the fact that she didn’t pitch every game. Sutz held her out against some of the weaker opponents. She’s also an excellent hitter, batting over .600 this year, including four home runs.