Eagles softball team hitting stride right on schedule

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Tolland - posted Fri., May. 13, 2011
Sam Olson pitched strong in relief for Tolland High on May 11. Photos by Steve Smith.
Sam Olson pitched strong in relief for Tolland High on May 11. Photos by Steve Smith.

After an 11-1 victory over Fermi on May 11, the Tolland High School Eagles varsity softball team clinched a post-season berth by improving to 8-6, but as coach Tom Drury said, the team is just now hitting its stride.

“Getting healthy, more than anything,” Drury said, when asked what's worked well for his team. “At the start of the year, we had four pitchers, and three of them were hurt. We're now getting to where I've got nine healthy ballplayers on the field, and we're 12 deep.”

With several of the team's players also having been part of Tolland's basketball team (which made it to the state semi-finals the past four years), the Eagles have plenty of athleticism, but that could also account for the slow start.

“We have a lot of good athletes,” Drury said. “The other side of that is, we have a lot of basketball players who don't get their swing down until the middle of the season.”

Despite the double-digit win over Fermi, and a 20-1 romp over Hartford Public on May 9 (and shutout wins where the Eagles scored 15, 17, and 18 runs, earlier in the season) the rest of the way, the team will likely be taking a lot of batting practice.

“We still need to be able to hit the better pitchers in the league,” Drury said. “The last couple of [losses], we got the bat on the ball, but we just hit it at people. But, we have been competitive.”

Drury said he will be leaning on the top of his rotation to help the Eagles battle tougher opponents ahead.

Kean University-bound ace Alex D'Aloisio is notching wins and helping her cause.

“She's been my number one, but started the year hurt,” said Drury. “She's probably also got the best batting average on the team right now.”

Number-two starter Jess Olson is what Drury called a “natural athlete.”

“Jess spots the ball particularly well,” said Drury. “She has enough velocity to keep people off balance. She's smart.”

The key for the rest of the season, Drury said, is remaining healthy, shaking off any lingering rust from the winter athletes, and a few other minor adjustments.

“We tend to be better at the end of the year than at the beginning,” Drury said, “because we're coming off of different sports. We still make defensive mistakes, and running the bases, we've got to be a little more heads-up.”

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