This edition comes from Lakeland senior Brittany Lischinsky:
Flash back to one year ago. The rest of the Lakeland team and I walk off of the field at Pearl River High School. We just played the Section semi- final game, and we are all disheartened by the final result. We know that we gave it our all, but the loss still hurts.
Flash forward to the beginning of our season this year. That loss is still fresh in our minds, and the whole team, especially the seniors, is ready to break out of the gates running. This is a special season for us, not just because we want to come back and avenge our semi-final loss last year, but also because many of us have been playing together since before high school and we want to end our career together with a bang. Cassie Kardias, Alex Oakes, Taylor Bell, Amy Layefsky, and I have grown up together on a softball field. By now, we know each other’s habits and personalities on and off the field, which makes for some amazing team chemistry. This is our last chance to make our mark on Lakeland High School and Section I history and this year we’re hoping “our all” is enough to make that happen.
After being stuck in the gym for more than a month before we started the season, we were ecstatic to play our first game. There was some speculation about what adjustments we would need to make as a team as a result of the coaching change, but there was really nothing major. Coach Chiara and Coach
Fallo share the same coaching philosophy that has made them successful through their career together at Lakeland.
This season multiple players stepped up to become a huge part of the success we have had as a team. Alex O’Malley has been rock solid on both sides of the plate every single game. The team always feels very confident in her because she blocks pretty much anything that comes her way- even if she has to take a few bruises to do it. From the offensive end Albe has done a great job getting some clutch hits to keep us in many important games.
Cassie Kardias has also done an outstanding job this year. She is a four year Varsity player and the best center fielder on any diamond. To this day the catches she makes still amaze everyone. Cassie is leading the team with five homeruns this year and consistently makes solid contact.
Taylor Bell has also continued as a strong hitter for the team with many clutch RBIs, and has held down the short stop position securely.
Alex Oakes has pitched some great games this season when she wasn’t holding down the fort at second base, and has also come through with some solid contact in key situations.
Amy Layefsky has been a solid right fielder through the season, and has shown that she is a true team player by stepping into the first base position whenever needed.
All of our underclassmen have chipped in along the way in key situations, to keep us on the path to success.
On to the seeding, most of the teams are exactly where I thought they would be. Pearl River has a great squad so I knew they were going to have the one seed. Other than Pearl River, I can only speak of the teams that we’ve played this season. All of the teams gave us a run for our money when we played them. Brewster and Hen Hud particularly were tough games for us, because both of these teams fought hard until the last pitch and have some really skilled players covering a majority of their lineups. All of the teams are very competitive, so at the end of the day it is going to come down to who wants it more, because within Class A it is very true that anyone can beat anyone else on any given day.
I think I speak for the whole Lakeland team when I say that today’s game was huge for us. We got ahead early in the game, which is something we have struggled with through the season. As one of the captains, I was very proud of the intense attitude all of the girls brought to the field today. We always come into any game looking to win, but its only natural that when the playoffs start, a new tone of competitiveness sets in among all of the players. I must tip my hat though to the Rye team first off
because they came and played hard, even though their prom was tonight and secondly because they are the most enthusiastic, and spirited team that we’ve played all season; they never stopped cheering until the very last pitch.
The win today started us off with some great momentum, and I am very optimistic about the future outlook for the team and I through the section tournament. This year more than ever it feels as though the section playoffs are already extremely competitive. Every out seems more important and I can see that extra burning in all the players’ eyes both on Lakeland and our opponents’. It’s almost as if the Section playoffs have evolved into our own version of the “College World Series”.