RANDOLPH, NJ- With four senior leaders, and three girls from each of the other three grades ( Frosh – Junior ), the Randolph softball team will have big mix of age groups for the 2017 season.
But third year head coach Ashley Kanya is excited about the interaction she sees between the girls, despite the difference in age.
“This group of young women has been such a pleasure to work with so far, they want nothing else but to do well, and to do well for each other,” said Kanya. “They have a great team camaraderie that shines each day and it has been wonderful to see them working together; as we are still a young team.
Kanya, who was an assistant coach for six years before she took the helm, will look to her two senior captains, pitcher / 3B Kristin Lindquist and outfielder Amanda Downtain to co-pilot the ship this season.
“Amanda is passionate about the game and is determined not only to do her best, but to bring out the best in her teammates,” said Kanya. “She is not the loudest player on the team but leads by example- she is reliable and determined to win.”
Downtain knows that the leadership role she has been given requires her to push herself as well as her teammates.
“As a team, one of our main goals is to keep good communication going throughout the entire season and to just work as hard as we can together,” said Downtain. “As a captain, although I am quiet, I know that I need to step out of my comfort zone as my coach would say, to help motivate each player for every game and practice.”
Lindquist will be the Lady Rams number one pitcher again this season, and when not on the mound she will man third base.
“Like Amanda, Kristen is not the loudest person on the team either, but she leads by example,” said Kanya. “She is composed and brings about great knowledge and leadership by example. She is an enormous asset to this team and program.”
Defensively, Kanya is expecting strong performances and leadership from Downtain in the outfield, along with junior outfielder Michelle McMillan and sophomore first baseman Lindsay Danias.
“Although the majority of our infield is underclassmen, we've been adjusting to each of our strengths and weaknesses and building our chemistry together,” said Lindquist. “Coach reminds us every day that softball is a team sport, and you can't win games without working for each other, not just for yourself.”
Freshmen Emily Spingarn and Amanda Flynn will spell Lindquist on the mound, and the group will be throwing to junior Victoria Loaro and sophomore Jennifer Iantosca behind the plate.
“Offensively, the lineup is strong with great bats in all spots,” said Kanya. “We hope that the bats come alive at the right times.”
Gina Russo and Karina Cortes are versitile seniors who will be used as utility players wherever needed. Alexis Kemp and Mailynn Soto are sophomore infielders, and Hane Noa is a freshman utility player; Kanya expects that all will have a role on this years’ team.
“This season is all about the TEAM,” said Kanya. “Everything we do is for the team and for our success. We want our players to be students of the game, learn to understand the situations they are in, and encourage each player in this program to succeed.”
Lindquist agreed that team camaraderie and cohesion will be key to the Lady Rams success.
“As a captain this season, I plan on helping the team by rebuilding our chemistry since we have many new, strong players in different positions,” said Lindquist. “As our team chemistry gets stronger, we will be able to work together better and come out on top.”