Academy of the Holy Family's softball team is powered by prayer
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Baltic - posted Tue., May. 10, 2011
“Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, bless this field we play upon. Help us play with zeal and zest, help us play our very best.”
That’s the prayer that’s recited in the team huddle before the Academy of the Holy Family’s Marist Eagles softball team takes the field for a game.
The Academy is tiny – just 60 or so girls in all – and almost a third of the entire student body plays on the 18-member team. The Marist Eagles play in the Constitution State Conference, mostly against technical high schools. And this year, the team has no seniors.
“The fact of a young team is a strength,” said coach Roxanne Maxwell. “We have no seniors graduating this year, so we’re just going to be that much stronger next year. I think we’ll grow as the season progresses.”
The team has already bettered its record from last year, when stiffer academic requirements for players kept some stars off the field and left the Marist Eagles winless for the season. “I fully support the policy,” said Maxwell, who teaches English at AHF. “This year it’s really working out. [The girls] understand that academics come first, sports second.”
Maxwell’s team boasts a number of players she calls “natural athletes,” including freshman pitcher and sometime shortstop Shelby Grauer, and infielder Andréa Bird, a junior, who also catches and pitches. With six juniors on this year’s team, Maxwell hopes for some strong leadership from experienced players next year.
With six games to go, all at home, the Marist Eagles have a 3-8 record, with wins against Grasso Tech, University High School and Parish Hill under their belts.
Academy of the Holy Family Softball Coach Roxanne Maxwell
Number of years coaching: 4
Maxwell, who served as coaching assistant and JV softball coach under head coach Andrea Gaines at St. Bernard for three years, coaches all three of the Academy’s sports seasons: soccer, JV basketball and softball.
Sports Spotlight: Players to Watch-
Andréa Bird - #7, Junior, Shortstop, Catcher: “She’s every coach’s dream,” said Maxwell. “She works hard and gives 110 percent every day. She just gets the game and will play any position.”
Elizabeth O’Sullivan - #3, Junior, Third Base: “She plays with more heart than any kid I’ve ever coached,” said Maxwell. “She’s a great leader for the other girls, both on and off the field. She’s dependable and she really works hard.”
Kelsey Wilson - #12, Junior, Catcher, Shortstop: “This is Kelsey’s first year at the Academy,” said Maxwell. “She’s got tremendous ability and great knowledge of the game, and she works hard. If you need something to happen, she’s the one to go to.”
Shelby Grauer - #9, Freshman, Pitcher, Shortstop: “Shelby is one of the youngest ones on the team,” said Maxwell. “She never gets her head down, she never gets frustrated. She’s very cool and collected, and she’s going to get the job done. She’s level-headed.”