The Shelter Island junior varsity baseball and softball teams began practicing this week in preparation for the 2019 season.
In her first year as head coach of the softball team, Taylor Anderson is hoping to build on the progress of last season’s squad, which finished 8-9 after moving down from the varsity to the JV level.
The team welcomes back a core of key contributors, including 12th-grader Jaime Lenzer, 11th grader Isabelle Topliff, 8th grader Angelina Rice, and 9th graders Dayla and Valeria Reyes.
“We want to win as many games as we can, and we want to work toward the goal of fielding a varsity team again next year,” Coach Anderson said. “But we’re not thinking in terms of the team record. I just want the girls to enjoy the sport, enjoy the process of getting better. Since we’re such a wide range of players, and it’s such a long season, there’s room for us to improve on every level, from throwing to batting and fielding. I’m looking forward to watching the players become more confident and watching the team build morale and enthusiasm as the season goes on.”
Another Shelter Island High School student, Lauren Gurney, has moved up to the varsity level, starring for Pierson High School this spring.
Head Coach Peter Miedema voices similar goals for the JV baseball team.
“We have kids ranging from 7th to 12th grade, so there’s quite a disparity in age and experience,” he said. “We had a decent season last year. If we continue to get better, I think we have a good shot of fielding a varsity baseball team again next season. We just need to step up and work for it.”
The roster includes returning infielder/pitcher Lucas Quigley-Dunning, outfielder Henry Binder and 8th-grade pitcher Ben Waife.
During the first week of practice, the team has focused on conditioning and fundamentals.
“There was snow on the ground on the first day of practice,” Coach Miedema said, “so we’ve spent a lot of time in the gym and the batting cage, working on developing good habits at the plate. We have a lot of great athletes on this team, but we need to focus on increasing our baseball IQ, our knowledge of the nuances of the game.”
The 16-game softball season opens with a home game against Southhampton at 4:30 p.m. on March 25. The second home game, against Mattituck, starts at 4:30 p.m. on March 29.
The baseball team opens its 20-game schedule with road games against Mattituck and Southampton before the home opener against Wyandanch at 10 a.m. on Saturday March 30.