By Laura Amato
The St. Francis Prep softball team is doing its best to get creative.
The Terriers have been kept off the field for much of the early part of the season, dealing with snow and rain and then, for good measure, a bit more snow as well.
But the reigning CHSAA Brooklyn-Queens champions aren’t willing to wallow in weather-related misery. Every team in the city is dealing with the same challenges and the Terriers have refused to complain, instead focused on finding ways to keep the energy up and the excitement growing, even when they can’t get on the field.
“I feel like by getting into other places, like the gym or the fitness center, really broadens our horizons,” senior center fielder Rebecca Colak said. “We can do anything that we need to and we can conform to these places and these challenges. We know we can play places other than a field – on concrete or in the gym – and it’s just a way to get used playing in general.”
The weather made it difficult for Prep to find its early-season footing, particularly with a roster chock-full of fresh faces. The Terriers, however, drew on a determination to keep the team’s successful streak alive and the group has found a common goal rather quickly – they want to win.
“They play well together and even with the limited time we’ve had, they know their strengths and weaknesses,” Terriers coach Ann Marie Rich said. “They’re good and I hate to try and judge what’s going to happen, but they’re working well together. Maybe the bad weather is a plus because they’ve spent so much time together.”
Prep will see a handful of new players in starting positions this season, including in the circle as Jazmin Andrews is set to take over on the mound for Monica Zhivanaj. It’s a pressure-filled job, but Andrews — much like her teammates — has found a way to prepare for the upcoming season.
“I just want to get through seven innings and want to keep going,” the junior said. “I know my legs have to get stronger, so those are things I have to work at. Monica is a good pitcher and I want to keep that going.”
The weather didn’t cooperate much, but the Terriers did have one chance to get on an actual field – playing a rescheduled double-header at Moore Catholic on March 25.
It was only two games, but it was a much-needed moment for the squad and as far as the Terriers are concerned, a chance to see just how well their creative workouts paid off.
“They want to play and they’ve got that itch,” Rich said. “They were good to go. Nine o’clock and they were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and they were ready. They were just so happy to play and the energy they put out there, I was just like, you’ve got to do this every game from now on.”
The road to the season hasn’t been easy, but the Terriers are thankful for the challenges. A title defense is a challenge and Prep is certain the trials of early-spring are more than enough to prepare them for whatever comes next.
“It’s big because in a game things aren’t always going to go how you want it to go,” Andrews said. “These few weeks, working in the gym and concrete, just teaches us that you have to roll with what life throws at you. It’s a big part of our game now.”