Norwich Tech Warriors softball team rises to meet challenges

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Norwich - posted Mon., May. 6, 2013
Saige Laquitara of Norwich Tech makes the play to tag Amy Roberts of Academy of the Holy Family out at first. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Saige Laquitara of Norwich Tech makes the play to tag Amy Roberts of Academy of the Holy Family out at first. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

The Norwich Technical High School girls’ softball team has a laundry list of challenges to meet this season, according to head coach John Saporita. Chief among them is the loss of much of the squad’s experienced backbone to commencement. The Warriors sent 10 players out in cap and gown last June, leaving a sole starting player, senior short stop Stacey Bowen. The team’s only other senior, Cami Marion, was moved from outfield to catcher this year, her first year at that position.

Saporita said that his players come to the team with uneven levels of experience. “They are all very young, and they lack that history between players that you have in the public school teams," he said. "They’ve never played together before. Every year, it’s new for them unless they’ve been [on the team] before.” And to top it off, many of his players are new to the game itself and need work on learning fundamentals, he said.

As a result, the season has been challenge, with a sole win against 13 losses. But Saporita is looking at the big picture beyond the season record. “We’re huge on team building – we stress that quite a bit, building one family together. We’ve been very successful in previous years. In seven years, we’ve only had two losing seasons,” he said.

Saporita is counting on some key players to grow into their game, notably freshman Alexis Paul, who’s in the outfield this year but will probably move infield next year. Sophomore Kerrie Bellerose has also proved to be a versatile utility player. “She’s lightning quick, and she’s been everywhere for us and done a lot for us. She’s a very athletic little girl.”

Norwich Tech plays in the Constitution State League against other state technical high schools and similar smaller schools, such as the Academy of the Holy Family, Putnam and several Hartford-area magnet high schools. Saporita said his squad probably won’t qualify for the tournament, which takes the top three teams in each division and the two teams with the best overall record. The Warriors are set to face off against Parish Hill on Friday, then play Ellis Tech and Putnam before their season draws to a close.

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