“Our team goals are to stay focused throughout the season, to work hard at every practice and every game, to compete hard against every opponent we face, and to show excellent sportsmanship throughout the season,” stated Oyster River softball head coach, Glen Miller.
The softball team has begun their spring season, and are looking forward to what is ahead of them. Today the JV and varsity teams have their first scrimmage at 4:00pm away against Spaulding High School. Team chemistry is already present within the dynamic of the team, which will be a key component for success. The skill level between each of the players is constantly improving according to the first baseman, Kendall Bird (‘18). “I’d say [the] skill level is probably best that I’ve seen all around this year. Everyone is clearly ready to work hard this season,” said Bird.
The varsity team consists of many younger players, having just four upperclassmen, and the rest being underclassmen. “Right now the team atmosphere is just starting to become apparent,” said third baseman and catcher, Jackie Carter (‘19).“We are a young team so we are just starting to get to know how each person plays. There is excitement though. Everyone is eager to get onto the field.”
This season is the first year that ORHS will field a JV team to go along with their varsity softball team. The JV team “provides an important development step that many players need, and it helps to ensure a lot of playing time for all of the players in our program,” said Coach Miller. “I am so happy and grateful that we’ve got both teams in place for 2018.” Miller and the organization have been wanting a JV team for many years in hopes that it will help newer players develop skills necessary to be able to play on varsity.
In the last three seasons for the softball team, they qualified for the NHIAA DII playoffs, a factor in this being the age variety of the players. Last season, the team consisted of all underclassman and a few juniors. “We were the youngest and least experienced softball team in the entire state of NH, any division. As a result, we struggled to be competitive against most teams,” said Miller. Seniors Bird and Samantha Goodstein are stepping up as team leaders for their final season on the softball team.
The team leaders and coaches have important goals they want the team to focus on throughout the season. After talking with Miller, Bird, and Carter, the main goals were narrowed down to being focused throughout the season, putting in their best effort at practices and games, working together, and ultimately winning games. Carter added in a personal goal for the team, “to help each person on the team to establish self confidence as well as confidence in each other. We are a young team but I don’t want that to limit us in terms of how we work together. Beyond that, in terms of quantitative goals, it’d be awesome to work to be competitive and win some games and possibly even make playoffs.”
Each player on the team has individual characteristics that bring the team together as a whole. A few established players to look for this season are “Jadyn Cunningham [‘20] and Madi Brown-Bloom [‘19], but I think that there’s a lot of incoming freshman with tons of pre-existing softball knowledge and skill which hasn’t been as prevalent in previous years,” said Carter. Carissa Miller (‘21) and Haley Davis (‘21) both have pitching experience and will be great additions to the team.
The team’s biggest rivals this year are Portsmouth, St. Thomas and Coe-Brown. “We’re looking forward to playing against each of these teams in 2018. A victory against any of these rivals is extra sweet,” said Miller.
As the team continues to grow together, they would appreciate the presence of school spirit at the games. “Student attendance has always been really low so it would be nice to see people out there especially with the new developments in our program as a whole,” said Bird.