Inexperienced PHS Softball Taking Its Lumps, Emphasizing Improvement Over the Long Haul
WAY TO BE: Princeton High softball player Bianca Guidi makes a play in the infield during a game earlier this season. Senior shortstop Guidi has provided leadership and production for the Little Tigers this spring. PHS, which fell 20-0 to Robbinsville last Monday to drop to 1-8, plays at Hopewell Valley on April 25 and at WW/P-South on April 27 before hosting WW/P-S on April 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
While Marissa Soprano acknowledges that the Princeton High softball team is taking its lumps early on this spring, she believes it is a necessary part of the growth process for a young squad.
“We have been struggling; we have a lot of girls who haven’t played at the varsity level before, so we are just trying to get them to improve,” said PHS head coach Soprano after the Little Tigers fell 21-0 to visiting Hightstown last Wednesday.
“That is our goal for the season, to think long term and get them to improve at the bat as well as in the field.”
In her postgame message after the loss to the Rams, Soprano urged her players to be sharper in their fielding.
“We just talked to the girls about hanging in there and when the other team starts to run, to make sure that they cut it off by getting the last out and finishing an inning,” said Soprano
Freshman Kylee Tucholski has hung in there for the Little Tigers, handling the pitching duties and trying to fill the void left by the graduation of star hurler Kayla Volante.
“Kayla was so strong and was a true pitcher where Kylee is stepping in for us because we lost our pitcher,” said Soprano.
“She has been fighting really hard and has been working to improve as the season goes. We have been working on some new pitches with her. She is doing a good job in the circle hanging tough.”
The calming presence of senior catcher Kate Wright has helped Tucholski with that transition.
“Kate is a senior so we have been trying to develop that relationship,” said Soprano. “I think Kylee really respects Kate, so that relationship is good. We can utilize a senior to help out our freshman and help her learn the game, like when to cover the plate and all that.”
Senior shortstop Bianca Guidi has earned the respect of her teammates and coaches alike.
“Bianca is our leader. She has been a strong varsity player for four years,” said Soprano. “She is really reliable, which we really appreciate. She has been great for us both at bat and in the field.”
Looking forward, Soprano is hoping that the Little Tigers will develop a stronger sense of the game and what they can do on the diamond.
“It is making sure that we have solid innings and that we come to know the game a little better and track the ball,” said Soprano, whose team fell 20-0 to Robbinsville last Monday to drop to 1-8, plays at Hopewell Valley on April 25 and at WW/P-South on April 27 before hosting WW/P-S on April 30.
“We have have a really inexperienced varsity team this year so we are trying to build them back up, getting them to be a little more confident and coming ready to play every day.”