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Shelter Island softball team solid on every level: Getting better every day and feeling joy in the game

Coach Erin Mulrain of the Shelter Island School junior varsity softball team said one standout fact of the season so far is having a group that pairs “lots of laughter with hard work.”

Nearly every day at practice, the coach added, she hears, “Softball is the best,” and “I love softball.”

The team has a roster of 11 players, with five retuning athletes and six who are suiting up for the first time. Senior Captains Katilyn Gulluscio and Harper Congdon lead the team, with Gulluscio moving to first base this year to shore up the infield, and Congdon taking on the role of ace of the pitching staff.

At practice, Susie Kane pitching and Kaitlyn Gulluscio, one of the team’s co-captains, at first base. (Courtesy photo)

Sophomores Lauren Gibbs and Lili Kuhr are also on the pitching staff and both, Coach Mulrain said, have a solid work ethic, putting in individual time away from the team to improve.

Kuhr also doubles at catcher when she’s not on the mound, and “is doing a phenomenal job,” the coach said.

The team goal is simple, Coach Mulrain noted. “We want to get better every day and continue to work on doing the little things well. We’ve spent a lot of time on ground balls, base running and hitting. Each game we’re trying to limit our errors and make the simple plays look easy. At this point in the season, you can really see all the hard work that the girls are putting in coming to fruition.”

Highlights early in the season came in the team’s first game against Ross, when each Islander scored at least one run or recorded a base hit. And in the most recent game against Smithtown Christian, Gibbs was locked in, recording four strikeouts.

Swinging away. Lily Kuhr at the plate during practice. (Courtesy photo)

“It’s rewarding as a coach to watch each player improve and gain confidence in their own skills and those of their teammates,” Coach Mulrain said. “It’s also been a very rewarding experience helping our newest players gain the confidence and commitment necessary to improve their skills.”