Tolland High School softball team swinging away

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Tolland - posted Wed., May. 8, 2013
Tolland's Sammie Olson slides into home in the Eagles' 19-0 win over Fermi on May 6. Photos by Steve Smith.
Tolland's Sammie Olson slides into home in the Eagles' 19-0 win over Fermi on May 6. Photos by Steve Smith.

Tolland High School's varsity softball team appears to have found another gear for the second half of the season, winning four of its last five games, including a 19-0 rout of Fermi on May 6. Coach Bill Pompa is in his first year with Tolland, after having coached six years at Windham High school, as well as coaching at Concordia College for another six years.

Pompa said he didn't know what to expect when he took over the team, but has found a great bunch of seniors and a few underclassmen who are already making a mark.

The team's top hitter – freshman Jennifer Slane – is out with a knee injury, but the rest of the team has not missed a beat. “They didn't rely on her,” Pompa said. “They picked it up.”

Instead, a big emphasis has been placed on raising the level of hitting across the board.

“We're not a bunting type of team,” he said. “We hit every day [in practices]. They'll swing anywhere from 75 to 100 swings a day, on top of their fielding practice, and that's really what's helped us. I'll do some situational hitting, if I have to, just to get us a start, because we have some speed at the top of the lineup, so we can definitely run, but that's not what we like to do. I want to put pressure on their defense. I don't have the type of talent where all we can do is bunt and run.”

Swinging for the fences is something Pompa said should work, but he prefers to think of it as one at-bat at a time. Making it deep into the state tournament is something he said is very reachable.

“I'm happy with where we are,” Pompa said. “A lot of our losses were by one run, and things could be different. We just need to keep hitting and we're not afraid of anybody. We come to the field ready to play.”

The Eagles are scheduled to play Rockville on May 9 and Bloomfield on May 13. For a complete schedule, visit

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