Home Run Season Around the Corner


Misty Schlichtenmyer, Staff Writer

It was the 2015-2016 season. Sophomore Emily Etherington was at shortstop. The Panthers had a tremendous lead. She recalls the sun shining and the wind blowing. The ball was pitched and the player on the other team made it soar into the sky. Etherington was blinded by the sun, and could not see the ball floating toward her. Shielding her eyes and hoping against hope, Etherington stuck out her mitt—and caught the ball. The umpire called and motioned out with his hands. The team rejoiced as they ran back to the dugout to bat next. This was a celebration for the Panthers, as they conquered another game.

Coach Lauren Sullivan, who teaches health at RLHS, is certain that the Panthers’ softball team has another incredible season in store after the dedication and effort she saw last year. According to Sullivan, “This season will hopefully be the best one yet.” She has very high expectations for this season because she is certain that the girls will put in as much effort, if not more, than they did last season. “ Last season went very well considering we were a very young team, with many new players to the sport,” she said. “Being a JV team with all freshman, our record was nothing outstanding but what was learned in such a short period of time was definitely something to be proud of. We had a lot of fun and as coaches it was great to see our players improve so much and gain more confidence throughout the season.”

Etherington agrees with Coach Sullivan’s assessment of last season.“ It wasn’t as good as it could have been, but we still tried our hardest,” she said.

“The team as a whole did not communicate well, ” said sophomore Samantha Nicoline. “This is something we need to improve on this season. The Panthers softball team won a total of 4 games last season.”

In the upcoming 2017 season, the girls as well as the coaches, are looking forward to a bright future. Many of the players make sure to attend open gym on Sundays and Tuesdays so that they can condition and be better prepared for the start of the season. Sullivan is also hoping to add to the team. “We are hoping for many new and existing players to come try out this season,” she said. “I am hoping that even girls with little experience will come give it a try, as long as they are coachable, we can really help them to improve a lot. I cannot say exactly how many will be coming out, but I definitely encourage anyone who is interested to come give it a try.”

Overall, Sullivan is remaining upbeat and regarding last year as a learning experience.  “I am really looking forward to this season,” she said. “I am hoping this will be a season full of hard work, commitment, and good team chemistry. From last year I hope that we can improve on our fundamentals, the little skills that make the biggest difference when it comes to game play. I also hope to improve on focus and confidence because when we all believe in ourselves and our teammates, our game play improves so much.” “I think this season should be a little bit better than last year and hopefully we are able to connect as a team because a team that connects works well together,” agreed Etherington.

The first game of the Panthers’ softball season will begin March 22 with the varsity team playing at home at 4:30 pm. If you are interested in trying out for the team, check out an open gym session on Sundays and Tuesdays here at the high school.