EWHS softball takes the field for new season
By Kathryn Elliott - ReminderNews
East Windsor - posted Wed., Apr. 6, 2011
Softball season is underway at East Windsor High School, and April showers did not dampen the first weeks of practice. Coach Karen Drake and assistant coach Bob Lengyel took the team through rigorous fielding drills inside the school gymnasium when the weather was less than cooperative.
Returning for her 31st year with the Lady Panthers, Drake is looking forward to a strong season. “We had an incredible turnout for the team this year,” she said. “In fact, this is the first season we have been able to field enough players for a JV team.”
With a record 14 freshmen, Drake commented on the team’s new makeup. “The best part of having this many freshmen is their ability and eagerness to learn,” she said. “This particular group is incredibly talented and really proving themselves; they have a tremendous enthusiasm.”
Building a new base for the team, Drake recognized the challenges associated with a young squad. “Although the new players are very strong, there is always a little bit of inexperience to overcome,” she said. “It hurts us slightly that the middle school does not have a team anymore where the girls can learn the basics, but overall I have seen huge improvements offensively and defensively in the short time we have been practicing.”
New regulations will come into play for Lady Panthers’ pitching. “Their distance changed this year,” Drake said. “Up until this point, the distance from the mound to home plate was 40 feet. Now they have moved it back to 43 feet.”
After finishing 2010 with an 8-14 record, Drake’s overall goal for the team is improvement in both regular season and tournament play. “Last year we lost in the first round of the state tournament,” she said. “I’m hopeful we will do much better this season. With all the new players and the addition of a JV team, I think we will finish very strong.”
East Windsor High School Softball Head Coach Karen Drake
Assistant Coach: Bob Lengyel
Seniors: Briana Matteson, Kayla Hertson & Kelly Lemay
Goal for the season ahead: “We would like to make the state tournament and successfully develop the youth of the team,” Drake said.
Complete schedule on: www.casciac.org
Briana Matteson - Senior/Pitcher: Four-year starter Matteson pitches and plays third base for the Lady Panthers. In addition to softball, she competes in both basketball and soccer. “My favorite part of the game is when we are down, and the team all wears our goofy ‘rally caps’ and come back for the win,” she said. Matteson will be attending the University of Massachusetts, where she plans on studying nursing.
Kayla Herson - Senior/Shortstop: Playing softball since the age of 5, Herson joins the team for her fourth season. A member of the soccer and basketball teams, she is planning on attending Eastern Connecticut State University. “I love diving during games. I guess I just like being on the ground and getting dirty,” she said.
Kelly Lemay - Senior/Right Field: Returning for her fourth season with the Lady Panthers, Lemay is looking forward to the games ahead. “I love being out in the outfield. Catching the ball, making the out. It feels good,” she said. A soccer player for EWHS, Lemay is planning on attending Western New England College to study bio-medical engineering.