YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Many area coaches are doing what they can to keep their team engaged through social media during this period of social distancing.

Samantha Fernandez, a second-year softball coach at Yorktown, has done that and then some. On top of communicating digitally, she recently drove by some of her players’ houses to help keep their spirits up.

“I wanted to see my players; I missed them,” said Fernandez, who is Syracuse University’s all-time leader in hits. “I wanted to show them that I care about them off the field, that we are still a family, and a team. It has been hard for them to stay positive, but as a leader of this team, I make positivity the only option and seeing the smiles on their faces arriving to their houses with an Easter goodie bag was worth it. I’m just trying to keep their spirits up!”

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Yorktown had three days of tryouts, one team meeting, and no practices before school closed and the season was halted.

“I had to tell the girls, over our team GroupMe app; it was so upsetting to tell them,” Fernandez said. “At first, we thought it was just for a week or two. As I got updates, I would update them. It was so hard to hear their reactions, as we have been doing preseason workouts since the fall and have worked so hard for this season.”

The team has been doing four virtual workouts a week to stay connected with one another.

“Each workout I pick a theme,” Fernandez said. “For example, we have done crazy socks, Yorktown gear, etc. This keeps the workouts fun and my players happy. We wanted to represent Yorktown and show to everyone we are still working hard even with the season on hold, for right now. We still represent our school, our town, and love wearing our green Y.”

Yorktown senior pitcher Allie Cortino, who was named All-Section a year ago, said the virtual workouts are really important.

“We get to come together on Zoom, talk and workout together just like we would be doing if we were in school,” Cortino said. “It gives everyone an hour, three to four days a week, that we can just be ‘around’ people other than our families. It’s good to stay around people who are being affected in the same way. It’s nice to have a ‘senior season,’ even if we don’t get on the field.”

Cortino said the Zoom workouts are her favorite thing.

“Staying motivated by yourself is hard, so I think that it’s good to be together keeping each other motivated,” Cortino said. “These challenges that are going around Twitter and Instagram are fun, too. They keep everyone in a competitive mindset.”

Fernandez says that she is in contact with her players every single day.

“We use GroupMe to communicate, where I send the workout for the day,” Fernandez said. “I send them emails for the link to our virtual workouts. We also share videos of ourselves working out to motivate each other. We use twitter mostly but also have an Instagram page (@yorktownsb). The kids love everything we are doing as I always ask them for feedback. Letting them know myself, along with my assistant Danielle Stabile, are still here for them helps keep team chemistry together. We have such a great group of girls that are all really close friends, so it makes communicating with each other something to look forward to.”

Fernandez stressed that team chemistry is so important to keep up, during this tough time.

“We remind each other through GroupMe and text to keep working hard and keep your grades up,” Fernandez said. “We have each other in GroupMe and Twitter, and the team has Instagram as well. I also like to keep the parents in the loop too as I get updates, they are just as important as the players. We are a huge Yorktown family.”

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