YORKTOWN, N.Y. – There may not have been a high-school softball season, but some Yorktown Huskers are getting plenty of opportunity now with Team Long Island 2022.
Head coach of TLI 2022 is Samantha Fernandez, who is also the
Huskers’ head coach.
“I have been helping out the team for years now,” Fernandez said. “I have always volunteered for TLI since I was in college, home for breaks, and now this is my first year as the head coach. My two assistants are my dad, Tim Fernandez, and John Rama.”
Fernandez said that she enjoys coaching with her dad.
“He’s a fun guy to coach with as well as learn from,” Fernandez said. “It’s cool to have him training me and coaching me throughout my childhood, and now I’m right next to him. The kids respect him a ton, and coach John, as well.”
Two Huskers, rising senior catcher and outfielder Lainie Ornstein, and rising junior pitcher Maya Servedio, both play for TLI 2022.
“It is so great to be able to coach them for two teams; it allows myself to form a great coach to player relationship, as well as get to know them as family,” Fernandez said. “I am so happy they decided to come to our organization’s open tryout.”
The players are, too.
“It has been absolutely amazing to get back out on the field and play this summer,” Ornstein said. “It went from not being able to be on the field at all to playing all the time. Throughout quarantine, Sammy [Fernandez] hosted virtual workouts, game nights, and guest speakers several times a week, which definitely helped me to be in the best shape and mindset possible when I finally got the chance to play again.”
Servedio is also grateful to be able to play, after the cancellation of the Huskers’ season.
“While I understand that the decision was made in the best interests of everyone, it was definitely devastating not to be able to play my first season on varsity this year,” Servedio said. “Playing with my amazing teammates and coaches on Team Long Island is something I had been looking forward to all quarantine. Although we have only played a handful of tournaments so far, it has been a blast. Playing at such a high level of competition has been incredibly challenging, but I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Ornstein said that playing for Fernandez and with Servedio during the summer is definitely helping her prepare for the 2021 high-school season.
“Maya is an amazing pitcher, and being able to catch for her now, in practice and in games, will enable us to be in sync, and ready to go, for next season,” Ornstein said. “Working with Sammy has always been incredible, and being able to spend more time with her on the field has helped me tremendously, as a player and a person.”
Servedio said that playing with teammates like Ornstein on TLI 2022 has allowed her to work hard and grow as a pitcher.
“Even though Lainie is capable of playing anywhere in the field at such a high level, the fact the she is a catcher has been very beneficial to both of us, as we have been able to work together nearly all year round,” Servedio said. “In addition to working with my TLI coaches, coach Tim and coach John, I’m extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Sammy Fernandez all year round. Not only is she a great coach, but she cares as much about the individual as she does the softball player. With the top-notch training Lainie and I are getting from coach Sammy and TLI, I feel very confident that we’ll have a great year.”
Fernandez said that it feels great to be able to get back out there coaching and being there for her players.
“I love seeing their hard work pay off, especially how tough they have been through all the tough circumstances lately,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez’s players on TLI come from various regions.
“We have one from New Jersey, a couple from Long Island, one from Queens, a couple from Westchester/Putnam County, and one from Albany,” Fernandez said. “These kids are committed and are willing to travel hours for practices and tournaments.”