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The Nantucket Lady Whalers Softball Team is looking to have a solid season after strong preseason preparations, hoping to build off of the success of last year’s team while keeping an eye toward the future.

The Lady Whalers began the preseason on March 18, where they spent a lot of time on building the team chemistry and ensuring everyone is prepared for the first game. Senior captain Madlyn Lamb explained further, saying “During preseason we work to reinforce basic skills with the infield, outfield, and batting drills. We have a lot of talented athletes this season and we’re trying to ensure the right pieces end up in the right places in regards to gameplay.”

While the team has focused on establishing a strong understanding amongst the team, they have the added benefit of being an upperclassmen-heavy team this year. Seniors on the team this year include Marina Caspe, Sara Lombardi, Kaitlynn Murphy, Madlyn Lamb, Jennifer Lamb, Gabby Macallister, Anna Steadman, and Jordyn Perry. Madlyn Lamb elaborated on this further, saying “we’ve realized that a large group of our team is comprised of experienced upperclassmen. We hope that these players can support the underclassmen and help them on the field.”

The leadership roles the seniors have this year will be instrumental in ensuring the team performs at the highest level, and they will be aided by the fact that three out of four of the captains of the team will be returning this year, an unusually high proportion. Last year’s captains were then-juniors Madlyn Lamb, Caspe, Lombardi, Steadman, and then-senior Jadelen Harold. The benefit of having four captains with a year of experience under their belt will be something the team is looking to take advantage of. Steadman elaborated on this sentiment, saying, “We have all been playing together for so long now it’s just become so natural. You can also really notice how much everyone really does want to be there and is willing to put in a strong work ethic. Last year we really struggled with staying focused on our end of season goals but the seniors this year are really committed to getting far in the playoffs and judging by everyone’s attitude the season is looking promising.”

However, this is not to say that the team relies on its upperclassmen only. Steadman praised the underclassmen on the team, saying, “We have had a little trouble with positioning and trying to figure out where everyone should be but there are some really strong underclassmen that are all ready to play at varsity level so that will help.” Steadman specifically mentioned freshman Quincy Sullivan and as a player to keep an eye out for, saying she “is probably going to be on varsity and she has a knack for the sport and is pretty fearless, which comes in handy when we play really good teams who can hit the ball really hard down our corners.”

The team hopes that this mix of experience and youth will allow them to have greater squad depth, which will be beneficial later in the season and in the playoffs. This has been something they have struggled with slightly in recent years and Coach Maury will certainly appreciate having this large talent pool to draw from, as he will return as Head Coach and will be joined by Chip Clunie and J.V. Ryan Watson, with senior MyAsia Wiggins pitching in as team manager. They will be hoping to lead the team on a deep playoff run this year, which is a desire Madlyn Lamb built on, “Last season we made it two games into State Tournament play and we hope to further this success this season. We are very optimistic about our group this year and we couldn’t be more excited.”

The team has started strong, winning their first game 17-0 in an out of conference game against Barnstable on April 2nd. The girls have many challenging games coming in their schedule, such as important home games against Georgetown on April 20th, Monomoy on April 23rd, and Martha’s Vineyard on the 27th.

While the team does have a challenging schedule, this will only aid them in their preparation for the playoffs, where the team expects nothing but the best from themselves.

 

By Emmet Clarke

Sports editor

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