The Warpath

Mariemont Softball : A Dying Program Rising from the Ashes


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BY STEPHANIE RENNER AND KAYLA DEWEY

Lead hitter Kasey Jones steps into the batter’s box, her team cheering for her as she confidently walks up to the plate. As she stands at an angle to get maximum power, the perfect pitch comes. She seizes the opportunity and smashes it into the outfield, already past first base by the time the outfielder retrieves it. Coach Hessler waves her on as she rounds third base at top speed. Kasey safely steps on the plate and runs into a cluster of thrilled teammates.

The teammates (Kelsey Brown, Mary Kate Keller, Addy Ashinger, Goose Justice, Emily Adamson, Ashley Lang, Sarah Pearson, Julie Meece, Megan Betts, Katie Marshall, Natalie Therrien, Kasey Jones, and Cameron Cumming) celebrate their win over Indian Hill by gathering together after the game (PHOTO BY BROWN).

A year ago, this scene may not have happened. Last spring, the few members of the incomplete team put up flyers around the school to recruit players. Now, they have a team of 15 and a positive outlook going forward for the program.

The team’s new members largely consist of freshmen. Captain Kelsey Brown (Junior) says they bring a whole new life to the team. “Most of them are first-year players, but they have brought so much appreciation, love, and fun to the program,” says Brown. “I can definitely see the program continuing after I graduate because of the strong freshmen foundation.”

Goose Justice shares that her experience as a freshman on the softball team is very different than what she has experienced with other sports teams at Mariemont. Typically, she has felt awkward because of the gap between the upperclassmen and the freshmen. “But with the softball team, I feel completely welcomed… everyone is so nice and we don’t have that gap,” she says.

The team thrives on positivity, teamwork, and family. “We have had a lot of new people join the team this year and we all immediately clicked,” says junior Skylar Butler. “We lift each other up on and off the field.”

Kasey Jones adds, “Even if we make mistakes we realize that it is going to happen, so we cheer each other on and still continue to say positive things to each other.”

Coach Pat Hessler is one of the people who continually tries to lift up the team and encourage the players. “He has been unbelievable for me as a player and person,” Brown shares. “I’ve never seen anyone who knows as much about the game and can reach me when I’m upset with myself or have something on my mind.”

Brown shares that one of the toughest struggles of being part of the team is overcoming the losses of sometimes 21-0 or 16-0. With many competitive girls on the team, it can be frustrating and disappointing. “The captains of the team, Kasey, Sarah Pearson, and I, get told a lot that we don’t need to carry the team and just do the best that we can do,” says Brown.

Brown’s goal for next year is to keep their winning streak up and build a reputation for the program. “I think that because the softball team isn’t that fantastic, compared to other sports like lacrosse, basketball, baseball, etc., it gets the least amount of attention and respect.” Brown hopes that building up the program will help change these feelings towards softball and the team.

“Softball means the world to me. When I’m out on the field, it feels as if I’m with my family doing the thing I love with the people I love,” explains Brown. She is excited for the rest of the season and can’t wait to see how the next year will continue to develop the team.

“[Softball] is a hard sport,” says Jones. “Show up, be a team sport, accept help from others, and you will go far.”

Here is a link to their schedule.

 

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Mariemont Softball : A Dying Program Rising from the Ashes