As the softball season begins, junior Mackenzie Furlong, who is one of the two captains on the team, says that, “although the season just started, it is off to a good start and all the girls are motivated.”
Furlong has been playing softball since she was around the age of six, and she plays the position shortstop. She states that she was encouraged to start playing softball because her father was a big baseball player and he had played men’s softball. Furlong was also encouraged by her sister as well. She mentions that, “[her] sister was a softball player and also played 4 years of varsity softball at the high school.”
Although the season just began, Furlong mentions that her team goal is to make the state tournament. “[She hopes] everyone on the team puts in 100% effort to get there,” she says. As a personal goal, Furlong does not want to let her confidence get low. She also has a goal of staying positive through her ups and downs. Furlong says that she wants this season to be different from last season by turning all their losses into wins. She states, “Last season [they] had a couple losses that should have been wins. Everyone needs to stay focused the whole entire season and go nowhere but up and work harder and harder each day.”
Furlong explains that she is looking forward to being in a new league (NEC) with new opponents and new opportunities. She also explains that she expects the outcome to consist of many learning experiences and “a lot of wins of course.” Furlong also states that as a softball player, the most important qualities to have are dedication, hustle and determination. She also expresses that her team and her all want the same outcome and want to be the best that they could all be. In her opinion, that is what makes her team a team. The softball team has helped her build relationships with others because she has been playing with the same group of girls for a very long time. She says, “[their] bond is very strong [they have] stuck by each other forever and [they] all pick each other up.”
Aside from her team influencing her, Furlong states that their new coach has been pushing her and the team to the best of their abilities and to do better. She also mentions that her parents are there to push her when she feels like giving up. She expresses how her parents are her best supporters. Furlong also says, “[her] parents, they have never gave up on [her]. [Her] dad has been [her] coach most of my softball career and he pushes me to the best [she] can be, and [her] mom is the best supporter. They both drop everything [for her] to travel for any softball game, at the softball field all day to watch [her].” Furlong “couldn't be thankful enough.”
Furlong also explains how softball has helped her to create relationships with others. She expresses how she has been playing with the same group of girls for a very long time and that their bond is very strong.
Senior Caitlyn Leonard, who is one of the two captains on the team, has been playing softball ever since she was younger and she also plays the position third base. Leonard was encouraged to start playing softball because she has always enjoyed playing the sport. She says, “there is so much about the sport that can change in an instant and you never know what is going to happen. [She likes] that anticipation.” She also explains that although the season just started, it is off to a good start and all the girls are motivated to do well.
Leonard also mentions that she expects her team to work as hard as possible and to give everything they can. She also explained that if something goes wrong, they all should not put their heads down and instead the team should just fight back. “If the team continues to motivate each other, [she] will be proud of them throughout everything.” Her personal goal is to help her team reach their individual goals and to achieve what they have set their minds to.
Leonard says that she wants this season to be different from last season because she plans on winning the games that the team were so close to winning before. She says, “[she knows] [they] have the skills and the mentality to do so.” She also mentions that she is looking forward to making every game and practice count because it is her last time playing for Malden High softball team. “[She wants] it to be special.”
Leonard also mentions that as long as everyone is proud of what they did this season and gave it their all, she will consider this season as being successful. She also says that “being very uplifting and full of spirits” are the qualities that are needed by softball players. Leonard says that sticking together no matter what is what makes her team a true team.
Leonard explained that her coach has shown her to make the best of every time they have practice and also to work hard throughout everything. She stated, “She also has shown me what it means to be a great teammate.” Leonard also included that her best friend Pardeep Bola pushes her to keep going when she feels like giving up. She states that “he is the strongest person [she knows] and [she] just [thinks] about everything he battles and it motivates [her] to try harder. He helps [her] through everything and makes [her] realize the possibilities [she has].”
Leonard explains that being a part of the softball team has shown her what it is like to work with others towards a common goal. She says, “the people [she has] met from this team are amazing and [she values] [her] relationships with them.”
Caitlyn Leonard and Mackenzie furlong are both very excited for the beginning of the new season and have high hopes as well. The softball season is off to a great start.