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Girls softball team finishes season flying

TAYLOR ANDERSON PHOTO
The 2019 Shelter Island School junior varsity softball team. From left, front row, Kathy Ramos, Bella Springer and Myla Doughtery. Back row, from left, Mary Gennari, Kaitlyn Gulluscio, Jaime Lenzer, Angelina Rice, Jane Richards, Lydia Shepherd, Izzy Fonseca, Valeria Reyes, Isabelle Topliff, Dayla Reyes, Lily Page and Sophie Clark.

While the rain and cool weather made much of May feel like March, the Shelter Island junior varsity girls softball team wrapped up their season on a warming trend.

The last home game of the season was against Mattituck on May 10, an emotional roller coaster of a game. Valeria Reyes was the starting pitcher, but couldn’t find her groove.

Dayla Reyes came in from center field in relief. She pitched lights out and the Island team made some noise with their bats and heads-up running, with many players scoring. The score was 11-6 at the top of the 6th.

Unfortunately, Dayla hurt her ankle sliding into second in the bottom of the 6th, so the sister switch was back on, with Valeria on the mound.

The Tuckers had a bit of a rally and the score went to 13-13. Dayla shook off her injury and went back in, holding the visitors scoreless. In the bottom of the 7th, Bella Springer, with two outs and two strikes on the batter, stole home to win the game, 14-13. The team and fans erupted in relief and joy.

That Mattituck game was emblematic of the season. Faith in one another, a willingness to take chances and loving the opportunity to get better.

The team is relatively young, with only one senior and junior on the squad of 15. Most athletes played at least two positions, giving the team flexibility while developing their skills.

Pitchers included Dayla and Valeria Reyes, both of whom also showed their speed in center field. Angelina Corbett-Rice is an upcoming pitcher, and also plays second base. Bella Springer was the starting catcher, and had a powerful bat, blasting home runs. Mary Gennari and Kathy Ramos are both learning to catch, while also spending time at multiple positions.

Isabelle Topliff normally held down first base. Myla Dougherty rotated between short and second, playing strong in the middle of the infield. Sophie Clark showed her unflappable nature at shortstop and the outfield. Lydia Shepherd was on third, with Jane Richards also helping out at the hot corner.

Outfielders who had the tough job of tracking high balls and throwing long distances included Izzy Foncesa and Lily Page in left, and Kaitlyn Gulluscio and Jaime Lenzer in right.

Jen Lupo helped on the score book. Joyce Brown, Coach Taylor Anderson’s mother, was assistant coach and was at every game.

After the team’s final game against Pierson on May 16, senior Jaime Lenzer was presented with flowers and cards. Coach Anderson said: “Jaime has been such a joy and privilege to coach. Her energy, positivity, enthusiasm, and attitude is exactly what I want to see from my athletes. She comes to each and every game and practice with the best mind set and attitude and cheers on her team no matter the situation or score. I will genuinely miss her — her presence and energy — on the field next year.”

Coach Anderson was also generous with her praise of the team. “The progress and improvement have been great,” she said. “Each girl has shown such growth since the first game. My biggest goals and accomplishments were to see confidence in what each athlete is doing at bat and on the field. Each girl has been so enthusiastic at every game and finding positives in any situation we are faced with. It’s been an absolute joy coaching these girls. We laugh and are silly at every practice and game — what more could I ask for?”

Enthusiasm, positivity and laughter. What more can you ask for indeed. Thanks for a great season, Shelter Island Softball.

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