Softball is a game dominated by pitching, celebrated with a potent offense and driven by a skilled defense, but it’s the bond developed between players that carries a team through the thick and thin of a season.
The Naugatuck and Woodland softball teams spent last week at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Florida — a trip that was about bonding as much as it was about playing softball and getting away for spring break.
“A trip like this does wonders for our young group of players as they blend their unique talent and personalities with our established veterans,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said.
“It takes a great deal of planning and preparation for a trip like this, and my longtime assistant (coach) Maribeth Ford makes this daunting task so much simpler,” Wesche added. “The community, the parents and my wife stepped up and hit it out of the park.”
The Greyhounds have taken the trip to Disney’s Wide World of Sports six times since 2009, but this year was the first time for the Hawks.
“This was such a great opportunity for our team to come together,” Woodland head coach Loren Luddy said. “We have strong senior leadership, and for our six freshmen and our young sophomores, this was a great time to bond together as a team.”
There was also some softball played as things heated up on the field.
Woodland and Naugatuck faced off April 15 to get the week started. Steph Krebbs hit a two-run single to score Emily Beyer and May Dawes in the top of the seventh to give Woodland a 2-1 win.
Alyssa Roberts scattered eight wins and struck out four to lead the Greyhounds.
Woodland went on to beat Windsor Locks, 10-0, and Wolcott, 9-2, and returned home 8-0 on the season.
Kylie Bulinski led the Hawks with three RBI against Windsor Locks. Krebbs added two RBI and three runs scored. Riley Kane struck out 10 for the win.
Bulinski had a two-run triple and Liz Triana added a two-run double versus Wolcott.
“I’m really pleased at how well we played as a team [in Florida] and looking forward to continuing our success for the rest of the season,” Luddy said.
“This was the first time we went on a trip like this, but I knew these girls would be up to the challenge,” Luddy added. “We had a lot of down time to enjoy ourselves and have a lot of fun and create some great memories.”
Naugatuck fell to Wolcott, 9-4, to drop to 3-4 on the season. Felicia Salvati, Kendall Allen, Hailey Deitelbaum and Alyssa Roberts had two hits each for the Greyhounds.
Despite dropping two games on the trip, Wesche was pleased with what he saw from his team.
“I thought we played with passion,” Wesche said. “We showed a willingness to be aggressive and support one another and continue to grow as a team.”
The trip, though, is about more than pitching, offense and defense.
“It’s been a great experience filled with treasured memories and lifelong friendships,” Wesche said. “All in all, it was a positive experience for all the players, coaches and parents.”