VERONA, NJ - Though Verona softball has struggled a bit this season, the leadership remains strong.  Christina Colon has led her team through thick and thin, just as she has the three years previously. Colon’s leadership and work ethic have once again earned her TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove’s Hillbilly of the Week honors.

“She had battled very hard through some tough games and has become even more mentally tough as the season has gone on,” said Head Coach Patricia Hemsley-Cartotto.  “We had some very difficult games during the first half of the season and she came back when we played those teams the second time around and played with more resilience and focus.”

Sitting at 8-12-1, the Hillbillies compete in a tough conference that includes Cedar Grove and Mount St. Dominic.  With a young roster, the team has struggled offensively as they battle against more experienced teams.

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“We haven’t done as well as we thought we would honestly,” Colon said.  “We’ve struggled with hitting, but we’re losing games 2-1 so we’re in it.  We have a lot of young players and it’s definitely a rebuilding year. Rebuilding isn’t easy when your in the conference we’re in.”

As she has in the past, Colon serves as a leader for the young Hillbillies team and tries to keep spirits up.

“Hitting has been our biggest weakness and we need to be able to push past the losses,” she said. “Like today against Mount Saint Dominic Academy -- before we knew it was 5-zip and 7-zip and we fell apart.  It’s hard to come back from losing like that.”

Colon tries not to dwell on the negative and hopes to give her team the leadership to get past the losses and move into states with momentum.   

“We’re looking forward to states.  It’s definitely been a rebuilding year for us which hasn’t been easy, but I think we’ll do fine in states, once we get past Lyndhurst,” she noted.  “Our bench has been great at keeping our spirits up. They are always cheering us on which has really helped us move forward.”

Though the games didn’t always go their way, Colon is proud of the effort her team put in and the wins they did earn.  

“Beating Montclair in counties was a highlight -- we expected that to be an easy win, but they’re scrappy team so getting that win felt good,” she said.

As she finishes her VHS softball career, Colon is excited about her future playing for Bryant University and reflective on her time and contributions to Verona softball.  

“Pitching and playing softball for Verona has taught me to be mentally strong.  It’s taught me how to be the underdog and battle back and that’s been an amazing experience,” she noted.   

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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