Greenwich summer softball finds a home with Babe Ruth League

Some members of the Greenwich Babe Ruth softball 12-U and 14-U team pose for a photo before heading off to play in the state tournament.

Some members of the Greenwich Babe Ruth softball 12-U and 14-U team pose for a photo before heading off to play in the state tournament.

Softball in Greenwich this summer got a little more competitive, not that anybody is complaining.

The Greenwich Lady Redbirds, a softball program that competed in the summer with teams from around the area, joined forces this year with the Babe Ruth softball organization and will have a 12-U and 14-U team competing with the best the state has to offer.

“This is their first year as a group playing together travel ball, so I am expecting them to grow a lot closer as a team,” said 14-U coach Erica Cadavid. “They’ve been playing a few games now, so a lot of it is growing teamwork-wise. I would like to think that by the end of this weekend’s tournament, they will play more like a team and I would like to see a couple of wins out of this.”

This past weekend, both teams competed in the Connecticut Babe Ruth Softball tournament in both Newtown and Danbury.

“It’s wonderful,” said 12-U coach Shannon Lawrence, who has been volunteering her time to program for the past two seasons. “I love it. I am very proud of the girls and they all work so hard. It’s nice to get them a little competitive softball.”

Although both squads didn’t bring home the state title, being able to compete against the elite teams in the state is something everybody in Greenwich is thrilled about.

“This is going to be good for them to see some other competition,” Cadavid said. “It’s outside the town recreation league and not against the girls they are used to playing. These are girls they’ve never seen before and it’s competition they’ve never seen before. It will be really good for them.”

For both squads, it’s all about consistently getting better.

For the 14-U team, one way of improving the team was having Cadavid as a coach. Cadavid is no stranger to softball or Greenwich. She played high school softball for Greenwich High School and played travel softball for Stamford from when she was eight-years-old. She competed every year in Stamford until Greenwich formed the Redbirds.

“This is so much fun for me,” Cadavid said. “I can’t play softball again because of the surgery I had, so this is great watching the girls on my team grow and go through the same experiences I went through.  I get super excited when they do something really good and I love these girls. I think it’s nice because they could talk to another female about it and get to know what it’s like. It’s a different perspective for them.”

Having tough competition for the 14-U team to face is going to be difficult for the newly-formed team early, however the Redbirds are up to the challenge.

“It’s a lot of fun to be here,” Kaitlyn Burhans said. “We all come out here to have fun and we play together really well. I think since we are a new team, we are still building our trust together, but as the season goes on, it’s only going to get better and better. We all have to know each other. We learn so fast together and that makes us really strong.”

Members of the 14-U team are Delepine, Burhans, Shae Darling, Isabella Ross, Kaitlyn Hoha, Kristen Lodato, Gabby Conforti, Elizabeth Intieri, Kathryn Walko, Marissa Munoz, Whitney Lynn and Erin Ballengee.

Delepine believes the 14-U will have a solid summer season, however she said practices will be an important part of the team’s success.

“We still need a few more practices to work on a few things, but after those and then a few games, I think we are going to be pretty good,” Emily Delepine said. “The girls are getting to know each other. We are making new friends and playing softball at the same time. I think my fielding is my strong point. I’m a catcher, so I am good at calling what plays for the pitcher.”

Members of the 12-U Redbirds are Liliann Cambareri, Kalya Darling, Rebecca Daum, Fiona Glass, Bridget Hamlet, Joelle Hintzen, Christiana Lauridsen, Jessica Marzullo, Violet Mikalopas, Ciara Munnelly, Marissa Munoz, Anne Nanai, Sydney Orszulak, Estee Reiss, Chloe Smith and Emily Walko.

“This is my first travel team that I’ve done, so it’s really a lot of fun for me,” Emily Walko said. “I really like doing softball. This team is great because they are my friends and it’s great to be around them. I’m a pitcher, so I like playing softball and I like the competition.”

For both Lawrence and Cadavid, winning is one the priorities on the 12-U team, however improving after every practice and having fun at the same time is just as important.

“I hope they go out and have a lot of fun,” Lawrence said. “We are just so proud of them. They get out there and have a good time. By the end of the summer they will improve greatly. The more they play together as a team, they will have more fun and trust each other more. Their skill set will get better throughout the summer and they will enjoy the season more.”

Come the end of the summer season, Cadavid would like to see the team’s defense improve the most.

“I would like to see fielding improve,” Cadavid said. “They aren’t used to balls being hit so hard at them. Now this is opening up a whole new level of competition.”

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