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Lady Warriors Come in With Chemistry

While the start of every new season is a mix bag of optimism and the unknown, for the Tonawanda Lady Warriors softball team, 2017 starts off with the plus of every girl knowing each other.

The Warriors come into the new season returning all 14 girls that suited up for them last year. No new faces.

So, with no major disruption in the roster the Lady Warriors feel they have a leg up on their opponents as they aren’t dealing with the same questions other teams are; like who is playing where and girls asking what is my role? No new faces. Nobody has left.

“My first thought is maybe we’ll be the team to beat?” said Lady Warriors head coach Kim Gerth.

“They’ve already played together for a full season. They already know each other and they know what to expect from each other. I think that’s a huge advantage for us coming into the new season with the same girls playing next to each other.” Leading the way for Tonawanda this season as returning tri-captains Ashley Adams (2B/1B), Taylor Hollock (CF/2B) and Sydney Taylor (SS).

Adams agreed that with everyone already having a familiarity with each other should translate to better communication and more success on the diamond.

“I think, obviously with us all returning, I think we all know how each of us works,” said Adams.

“So I think we’re all working together and I think we’re going to have a successful season. Definitely last year I felt like we learned a lot.”

Adams said even though the team didn’t have as much success on the field as they would have liked the fact that they didn’t lose anyone is a still a plus in building that all important team chemistry.

With a year as captains already under their belts Hollock, Adams and Taylor feel even more secure in their roles as team leaders. For the trio a big part of growing as captains, and maturing as young women, is knowing when to be tough and when to be supportive.

“We expect a lot out of each other,” Taylor Hollock said. “We want to make everybody happy. No one upset.”

Hollock said that one of the bonding moments was everyone finding a partner and going through the simple process of asking each other what is your favorite thing in every category from favorite color to favorite animal. Sound silly? Maybe? But it got the job done as the girls found out more about each other, which opens the door to even tighter friendships.

“We’re just here to have fun and play softball,” Hollock said. The rest of the Tonawanda infield included Hannah Myers at first base, Alicia Farrell at third base and Bri Zientara at catcher.

“She’s just been a wall back there,” Gerth said.

Allysa Prytula will serve as the Warriors backup catcher, while Bri LoGrasso will see time at third base and outfield.

Inside the pitching circle the Warriors will look to the combo of Kristen Toth and Hannah Reid.

Gerth and the Warriors are also crossing their fingers that their outfield gets a boost from the anticipated return of senior Hannah Strassburg, who has been on the shelf since suffering an injury during soccer training camp. An injury that cost her all of soccer and basketball seasons, and the first month of softball training camp.

If all goes well at her next doctor’s appointment Strassburg, who will play center field, could be ready in time for the TNT softball game at NT on April 17.

The rest of the Lady Warriors outfield includes Caitlyn Vishion, Vanessa Velazquez and Sarah Frears.

Gerth described Frears as the perfect example of a kid who makes the most of her talents and never stops trying to get better.

“She’s always taking extra reps off the batting Tee. Anything to be better,” Gerth said. “She’s always asking what can I do to become a better player? She’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever had.”

Adams, a senior, said that while the talent to succeed in ECIC IV is there the key to success isn’t so much about each player’s raw talent, but rather, that raw desire to want to win. To push hard everyday and pay the physical price needed to win.

“Obviously I want to go out with a bang,” Adams said with a smile. “I hope everybody wants it as bad as me.”

Gerth said that it boils down to the fact that everyone knows their job. So now do it. “I said you guys know what’s expected of you. You know what to do,” Gerth said. “Now all you have to do it do it.”

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