MAHOPAC, N.Y.— The Mahopac softball team has a new head coach for the upcoming 2017 season, but it’s a person they are already familiar with.
Amanda Gambacorta, who was an assistant under former coach Brian Hunt the last two seasons, will lead the Indians. Her familiarity with the girls on the team as well as her passion for the sport of softball, much like her predecessor, made her jump at the opportunity.
“Coach Hunt was a great role model. He kept the girls motivated throughout the season and has a passion for the game,” Gambacorta said. “It’s an honor to coach these girls. They drive me to work harder.”
Gambacorta played softball at Harrison High School in lower Westchester, graduating in 2005. She also played on the Brewster Rockets travel team, playing second base as well as pitching. She also coached at Harrison before coming on the Mahopac staff.
She is excited to bring along her new assistant coach Cristina Giansante, a former outfielder for White Plains. With Gambacorta’s experience in the infield and Giansante knowledge of the outfield, the new head coach said the team will have a “nice balance.”
The Indians return a team that made the sectional tournament last season. They will be without the services of six players due to graduation, but do bring experience to the diamond. Seniors Alissa Copeland and Amanda Virola will patrol the outfield while Tiffany Terelli will be the designated hitter and see time at third base.
The majority of the team are juniors with returning starters Kim Astrologo (shortstop), Madison DellaMedaglia (first base), Beth Schum (catcher), and Juliana DePinho (pitcher). The other players looking to fill the void left by the departed graduates are the rest of the juniors in Sofia Arena (utility player), Emily Ashworth (first base, right field), Jessica Perri (outfield), Kailey Zecca (first base), and Abigail Mastropietro (second base).
Another newcomer to the squad is eighth-grader Shannon Becker. She will see time on the pitcher’s mound, along with DePinho. She’s “very strong and talented,” according to Gambacorta.
The team will look to improve from last season with a positive attitude and hard work.
“We want to win as many games as possible and win our league,” Gambacorta said. “But the main thing is for the girls to have fun, be competitive and work together.”
Gambacorta likes the way her team has looked so far in practice, despite lack of time on an actual field due to the weather and field conditions. She wants her team to play solid defense and put the ball in play, putting pressure on the other team to make a play.
“Having a solid defense on the field is the most important aspect. We have to limit the amount of opportunities for the other team,” she said. “On offense, we have girls that have power, but we want to play more small ball and be as aggressive as possible.”
The Indians are scheduled for their first game this Friday, March 31, against visiting White Plains at 4:30 p.m..
“I’m confident in the girls’ abilities to make things happen on the field,” Gambacorta said.