By Will McClure
With the temperatures getting warmer and the days getting longer, the Stamford Lady Bulldog Softball field has begun to see some activity. From the whoosh of the ball to the smack of the bat, it is clear that the Lady Bulldog Softball season is well underway. After traveling to compete in several tournament games with few practices under their belt, the Lady Bulldogs have been able to start bringing everything together at the onset of district play that began on March 1. Head softball coach Rick Musemeche was able to discuss the Lady Bulldogs' season thus far as well as provide some insight into what the rest of the season may hold along with preparing for the future of Lady Bulldogs' Softball.
Although they have not had many days of practice together, having only four practices as of this writing and 14 games, Musemeche said that he believes that things are finally starting to come together for the team, with some areas not coming along quite as quickly in a shorter period of time. While most of the season thus far has been spent on tournament games, Musemeche said that the games have helped the ladies get back into the feel of the game while still trying to remember the fundamentals. At the same time, Musemeche noted that the games not only gave the Lady Bulldogs a chance to see different teams and playing styles, but also experiment with position changes.
"[The tournaments] gives them the opportunity to try people in different positions, experiment with batting order, [and gives an] opportunity to shift around on defense and give them more experience at a different spot should we have to make a lineup change," Musemeche said. "[For example,] with [Bailea Epley's] injury we really didn't know what she would be able to do. She's actually done quite well, but we've basically been splitting it between first base, designated hitter and catcher." Musemeche would later go on to say that changing positions, especially those in the infield, have allowed the girls to get more comfortable in moving to a new spot. While the team is still working on defense and trying to break a lot of habits, Musemeche said that he is confident that they will continue to get better and the wins and losses will take care of themselves in the long run.
The beginning of a new softball season also saw a change in the coaching staff, with former Lady Bulldog Miranda Alvarado replacing Coach Michelle Gilbert as Assistant Coach, becoming the first former Lady Bulldog to hold the position. Musemeche said that Alvarado has been a big help to the team and has been able to use her own past experience as a Lady Bulldog from a player's perspective, allowing her to see the game from a different perspective than coaches from the past.
"She readily admits that, having graduated in 2009 and this being 2016, that things have changed in terms of the way the game is played, so she is still making adjustments because the way things were done up to her graduation is completely different seven years later, but she has been able to contribute and help out a lot," Musemeche said.
Another big change that the team will eventually have to address is the loss of players due to graduation, with seven seniors on the team this year. Musemeche said that the tournaments have been a big help in this issue as it allows the underclassmen to experiment with new spots as well as get in valuable playing time so that they will be ready when the next season rolls around. Musemeche said that the seven seniors have had three years of experience up to this point and he has seen success from them. While there is really no way to tell what the future will hold, with the next two years possibly seeing the numbers going down, Musemeche foresees a big group coming up in later seasons as the team continues to adapt and change.
All in all, Rick Musemeche said he has enjoyed working with the team, noting that each year is different and will continue to head the softball program for as long as he is able to. At the end of the day, he said that he wants the ladies to have fun and be good teammates, especially the seniors who have set an example throughout their time on the field. With the season almost halfway through and district games well underway, the Lady Bulldogs have a tough remainder of the season ahead of them with old rivals such as Haskell standing in their way. However, it can be certain that they will make their school, community and families proud along with having some fun along the way.