Tri County Softball – The Season that Wasn’t
Jun 18, 2020 03:19PM
By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
For the past three seasons, the Tri County softball team has found themselves one-win shy of advancing into the Divisional Tournament. This spring was going to be different. However, Coach Stephanie Caffrey did not have the faintest clue at how different this season was going to actually be.
“After just missing out on the tournament with 8-10 records the past few years, I felt that this was going to be the year that we put it all together and made a run into the tournament,” the Tri Country Coach said. “Little did we know what was about to hit us, and eventually the way things worked out the seniors lost their final year of high school softball.”
Back in March, just days before the spring pre-seasons were to begin, the MIAA announced that the beginning of all sports seasons in the state would be suspended due to the Corona Virus that was hitting the country. The MIAA wanted to follow the guidelines and keep people safe, so they had put in a ruling that would allow the teams to eventually have a shortened season, but that never became a reality. When Governor Charlie Baker closed the schools for the remainder of the year, it put an end to all spring sports.
“Originally, we took the wait and see approach while trying to keep the team motivated,” Caffrey said. “Every Monday I would post a workout for the team to do, whether they did it or not, I’m not sure. Eventually, we lost the entire season.”
According to the Cougar’s Coach, the girls were extremely excited about the season, and the potential that it brought to them; they could not wait to get onto the field and see what could happen.
“This year’s schedule was much better equipped to our play and it fit us better,” she said. “We’ve always been a competitive team, never got blown out, but just couldn’t get over the hump. I also felt that our pitchers, both juniors, were ready this year and that the chemistry with the team was better than the previous year.”
Caffrey would have had four seniors on this year’s potentially tournament bound team. Kendra Whelan and Alana Lydon would have been four-year starters for the Cougars, while Emmie Leland would have taken part in her second varsity season and Maddie Mayo was looking forward to her first and only varsity stint.
“I feel bad for all the seniors, but more so for Kendra ad Alana as they’ve been here since their freshmen year,” the Coach said. “These two laid the ground work over the past three years for this team and its terrible that they won’t get to play. They were the heart and soul of this team.”
Whelan was the team’s shortstop and batted atop the Cougar order, while Lydon was a solid hitter who played first base. Not having the season does not allow Caffrey to get their replacements set for next spring. The coach was hoping that the two seniors would be able to train their future replacements this season, giving them the guidance they needed to play on the varsity level.
In addition to the seniors losing their final high school season, Tri-Country had two junior pitchers in Holly Swinamer and Morgan Collupy who lost out on an important year of softball. Luckily, both girls play the sport year-round, and although their junior campaign is lost on the high school level, they still have their club teams.
“Junior year is big, as that is when most girls looking to play softball in college identify where they want to go, and I believe both Holly and Morgan can play on the collegiate level,” Caffrey sad. “I don’t believe that either girls pitch consistently for their club team, so they lost a major season to shine as their maturity level has reached its peak.”
Not only did losing the season affect the juniors and seniors, it also took its toll on the younger players as well. Sophomores, who would have seen time on the junior varsity team, were not able to improve upon their skills in hoping to make the jump to the varsity level next year. As for the freshman, Coach Caffrey knows absolutely nothing about these girls.
“I feel like next year I will be a first-year coach all over again; coming into a new situation not knowing anything about the girls I have, the Tri-County coach said. “Not having the senior help and prepare the younger girls for after their departure leaves us going into next season blind with who will be playing where.”