SPRINGVILLE — Springville-Griffith Institute’s coach John Chaddock and his junior varsity softball team are getting ready for the upcoming season. A number of girls are returning to the team, but there are a few new faces to the squad, as well. Molly Stabell is a sophomore playing in her second year on JV.
“Last year, from the first practice to our last game, we showed great improvement and really learned how to work as a team. Although we didn’t win every game, we worked our hardest and had fun playing,” said Stabell. “As we go into the 2014 season, I see great potential. Again, I hope to see improvement throughout the season and just have some fun playing the sport that we all love.” Personally, Stabell’s goals include reaching her personal best. “Going into the season every year, I always look for new ways to improve my personal performance, whether it’s trying new batting stances or communicating better on the field. I’m always willing to trying new things.”
As for team dynamics, Stabell said she has no complaints in that area, either. “Our team is always fun! We have each other’s backs, on and off the field,” she said. “By the end of the year, none of us want the season to come to an end, because we’re a family and that’s how it should be.”
Erin McNell is also a sophomore, playing in her second year. “When we started the season, we were made up of small groups of friends, but now as we practice together more, I’d say we’ve gotten pretty close,” she said. “We all get along and work together really well, which is always good. Last year, we got better in time and I say we were pretty good. This year, we have a lot of girls who haven’t played much before, so I hope we can play the best we can, but we’re looking pretty good, so far.”
For herself, McNell is looking to switch her position, on the field. “My goal this year is to play an infield position, preferably second base, compared to last year, when I was an outfielder,” she said. Sophomore Emyle Watkins has been playing softball for 10 years, but this will be her first season on the JV team.
“I have to say, the school team is probably my most favorite team I’ve been a part of. This year, we all really feel close-knit and like a family. There are never any cliques and no one gets left out,” Watkins explained. “I’m looking forward to the snow to melt, so we can get out on the field! I’m so excited to put our teamwork and hard work during practice in action, out on the field, against other teams,” she said.
“My personal goals for the season are to improve my bunting and hitting skills,” she said. “I’d also like to maybe get out there and try a new position. I usually play right field and it’d be cool to break out of my comfort zone and try an infield position.”
“It’s hard to say how our team will do this year,” said Chaddock. “Every returning starter from last season was taken to the varsity. I had to bring three girls up from eighth grade. My biggest concern is that I do not have any pitchers with experience. We will see how the girls develop there.
“It’s a huge concern, beginning the year,” the coach noted. “I think our inexperience will hurt us against teams like Depew and Maryvale.”