April 17, 2019

PHS Softball Struggling in the Early Going, But Young Players Gaining Valuable Experience

GIVING DIRECTION: Princeton High softball head coach Marissa Soprano, right, instructs one of her players during a recent game. Going with a number of young players, PHS has taken it lumps in the early going this spring. The Tigers, now 0-6, host Hamilton on April 17 and then play at Notre Dame on April 18, at WW/P-South in April 22 and at Steinert on April 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Marissa Soprano chattered constantly to the players on her Princeton High softball team as it hosted Allentown last Friday afternoon.

PHS head coach Soprano positioned her players, gave them fielding and hitting tips, and told them to take a deep breaths as part of her running commentary.

“The team is really new, we are doing a lot of teaching this year,” said Soprano, whose starting lineup against the Redbirds included three freshmen and two sophomores.

“We are just trying to teach them the basics of the game. It is hard when you play against girls who have been playing long time.”

Despite trailing 27-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, the Tigers didn’t stop battling. Freshman Molly Brown lined a single up the middle and then junior Jordan Guidi blasted a drive over the center fielder’s head for a two-run homer as the PHS bench cheered loudly.

“We are just trying to instill in them to have fun, learn the game, and keep your heads up,” added Soprano, whose team ended up losing 27-2 to move to 0-6. “They did a good job of that today, trying to hang in there.”

Soprano is proud of how players have hung in there as they have dealt with a number of lopsided losses.

“We haven’t gotten shut out yet, so that is a plus too. It is just hard when they score 20 something runs and we only have two,” said Soprano.

“I just talked to the girls, telling them that every game is an opportunity to learn more. They need to have more softball mentality, be smarter about the game, and look at every at bat as an opportunity to go up there and hit.”

The squad’s freshman starters Brown, Bella Kwok, and Monica Watson have been learning some valuable lessons.

“Molly is a really good addition to the team; she plays the game really well,” said Soprano.

“She covers every bag, she knows where the runner is. Her bat has really been helpful too. Bella came in and helped us out today with the pitching. Monica is new to the program and she has learned a lot in the last couple of weeks. I am excited to see her progress.”

Soprano is excited about the leadership she is getting from junior stalwarts Guidi, Cosette Hansen, and Kenia Morales.

“Jordan can be a solid hitter, we have been waiting for her to deliver and that was her second homer of the season,” said Soprano.

“She is coming into her own as a junior in terms of at bats. Our center fielder Cosette is really quick so we really like her in center field, chasing down the balls. She, Kenia, and Jordan have been solid for the program over the last couple of years.”

With so many young players seeing action this spring, Soprano sees a solid future for the Tigers.

“We have a pretty large JV team this year so hopefully we can get those guys experience too and help them through the program,” said Soprano, whose team hosts Hamilton on April 17 and then plays at Notre Dame on April 18, at WW/P-South in April 22 and at Steinert on April 23.

“We don’t have that many seniors so we are building that foundation and hopefully the girls can come back next year and be a stronger team.”