Tornado Softball Team Looks Forward to Upcoming Season

Driven, Eager, Passionate. That is how Malden High’s softball Head Coach Rebecca Krigman described her team this year. Coming off a state tournament appearance last year, The Golden Tornados look to make a splash in the Greater Boston League.

Sophomore infielder Gizelle Rodriguez transferred to Malden High this year and recognizes the team’s biggest strength: its chemistry. “I have never really seen chemistry in a team like this one. I believe you need chemistry to win games, and it really helps us play as a team”. Rodriguez also noted, “We need to be able to lose and win as a team and be able to lift each other up when we get down on ourselves.”

Junior Jayden Caplis Catches a fly-ball in the outfield. EDMUND KAM

Coach Krigman also recognized that the team had done a lot of “bonding activities” that will carry onto the field. “We are a family, we have eachothers backs,” Krigman noted. Senior captain Meryem Hakkaoui also agreed about the atmosphere of the team, saying that “Everyone is included; we all joke around and laugh with each other.”

As for on field performance, a consensus among team members is that the fielding has been great and that is the team's best asset. “We all hustle towards every ball,” said Hakkaoui. Furthermore, Captain Noelle Hayes after discussing the first game against the Everett Crimson Tide noted, “Our fielding killed it, we all read where the ball was going so well.” Rodriguez agreed, noting “Everyone was really out there making plays and hustling, we do need some small adjustments but that will come as the season progresses.”

The coaches for this year’s team are Rebecca Krigman and Jessalynne Brown, both of whom played Malden High softball. Rodriguez noted, “The coaches have been doing a wonderful job bringing us together, they keep pushing us.” According to Rodriguez, there has been a game day ritual coordinated by the coaches. “We give out motivational notes before every game to a person assigned to us.” Both coaches have been focusing on building chemistry and the little things that unites the team.

Hakkaoui thought that “Both of our coaches have been incredibly supportive and understanding, especially for us as student athletes as they see us after we deal with a long day of classes and work.” Hayes expressed, “Even though they give us some tough love, they are super supportive about everything.” Krigman was also named GBL Coach of the Year for softball.

Junior Julisa Ramirez slides to second base to escape the tag. EDMUND KAM

The team, of course, still has room for improvement. Rodriguez explained, “It’s a little hard to tell what we need to work on because the season is still young, but we are definitely going to need to work on our hitting a bit.” Hayes also stated, “Hitting is going to need some improvement, we can’t win games without hits!”

One word that came up with many team members and coaches is confidence. Hakkaoui explained, “Confidence comes from within, we all need to work on our internal confidence especially at the plate.” This does not panic Hakkaoui because she claims, “Confidence comes with experience.”

Krigman stated, “Everyone has their own goals but we need to be more confident as a whole. From double plays to getting a bunt down and overall communication needs to be worked on.” Hayes further explained “We cannot second guess ourselves, we have all the skills so we just need to build confidence.”

Captain Peyton Lightbody, who is entering her senior year, hopes to hit 200 strikeouts, after she surpassed her goal of 100 from last year with 151 strikeouts. Hakkaoui wishes for her senior year to be enjoyable. Hakkaoui explained, “I want to work on balance between softball and other parts of my life to make it enjoyable for me.” Hayes has a similar look on the season as she noted, “I want to leave this season having no regrets. I want this to be memorable and be something I can look back on with a positive view.”

As the team begins to get back into the swing of things, there is a long road ahead. However, Coach Krigman has made the teams’ intentions clear: “Last season we were in the state tournament for the first time in six years, our goal is to make it back to the state tournament.

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