MARSHALL - Before the start of the Morris League softball summer season, Coach Stacey Evans had each member of her team write down one goal for the group as a whole. "Play together as a team was the biggest one," she said at a season wrap up interview at Marshall High School.
Her team took that goal to heart and brought home the league championship after beating the Morris team 5-0 on July 22nd. They ended their season playing extremely well, including beating the number one and number two seeds in the league tournament. "Those last four or five games were the best I had ever seen them play," said Evans.
That teamwork may have crystallized at an unexpected moment - when their coach was absent. A few weeks ago Evans asked a some of her girls to organize a practice when she was gone. "It wasn't going to be a hardcore practice," said team member Sadie Zahrbock.
Members of the Marshall 18U Softball team receive their first place medals after winning the Morris League. Marshall coach Stacey Evans credited her girls with strong teamwork all season long. On its way to the championship, Marshall took out the top two seeds in the tournament. The team gelled during a practice in which coach Evans was absent.
The girls did normal drills: taking grounders, hitting, and playing catch. Things seemed to slide into place in the games after that."When coach was gone we figured out how to do more things on our own. We had to be responsible. We had to be as a team," said Zahrbock.
Some unintentional trash talk by the Minnewaska coach may have galvanized the team as well during the playoffs. That coach and Evans discussed the pitcher situation for the next game. The Minnewaska coach seemed to think that the game would be a "piece of cake" for them according to Evans. "I told the girls and it seemed to work. They came out and hit the ball really well. I've never seen them play that well this summer, " said Evans. Marshall ended up winning that game 7-3.
Coach Evans said she couldn't believe how much her team improved over the course of the season. She was especially pleased with the improvement of the teams hitting. The team was able to turn that into high-scoring games. They beat one team 14-0 and another 14-5.
Many of the girls play on the Marshall High School varsity team, so they are hoping to take this atmosphere into the school season. "Getting to know each other helped a lot," said player Julia Marshall.
Evans is looking forward to the school season as well. "I see it as a time to improve on things for spring," she said.
If this summer is any indication, other teams should watch out.