Despite slow start, softball gains recent momentum


Carolyn Harty

Junior Hannah Palep gets into her stance in a 27-9 win against Drew Charter School on Aug. 18.

Carolyn Harty

After an 0-2 start, the softball team turned things around to even its record at 2-2. 

The season began Aug.10, with a 13-0 loss to Villa Rica, the reigning region 6-AAAAA champions. The Knights then lost 13-7 to Galloway on Aug. 13. They later came away with a big 27-9 win against Drew Charter, and beat Northview 11-10 on Aug. 21. On Tuesday, Aug. 24, they continued their winning streak with a 27-5 win against Maynard Jackson. 

“While [Villa Rica] was a tough game, we showed a lot of improvement from last year,” sophomore Caitlin Stanley said. 

The Knights play New Manchester in a Region 6AAAAA game on Aug. 26 and Centennial in a non-region game on Aug. 30. 

“I think, as a team, we just need some more wins on the board, and qualifying for region is always an end goal for the team,” Stanley said. 

The Knights began their preparation last spring.

“It’s been a long season because we’ve been practicing since the end of May, working hard all summer long,” freshman Chloe Payton said. 

Coach Daniel Stockdale has high hopes for the remaining games. 

“Some season expectations are to finish better than we finished last year, and to make the playoffs this year,” Stockdale said. “We focused a lot of our summer on defense so we expect to see much more improvement there. For us to win games, we have to limit the mistakes that we make that end up hurting ourselves.” 

Senior captain Zoie Armstrong said she hopes to finish her Midtown career with a strong season.

“I hope to end my high school career, possibly making it to the playoffs this year,” Armstrong said. 

Covid-19 had significant effects on player development; the coaches and captains are intent on getting the team back on track.

“This year we’ve been able to practice and have our team functions but last year, Covid didn’t really allow us to practice and get the team ready for the season,” Stockdale said. “There wasn’t much development prior to the season that was happening;so, although we have a lot of experienced players at the varsity level, Covid really hurt their development.” 

Due to the absence of fans last season, Stanley notices the impact fans’ attendance can have on the team’s play. 

“It is definitely a lot easier playing with fans and support on both sides,” Stanley said. “There’s a lot more energy around the players and the game, which can be super helpful.”

According to Stockdale, one of the goals for the future is to establish a junior varsity team to focus on player development. 

“The interest level is there, [for JV] and the numbers are there, but we’ve got to start having success with our varsity team before we can start building out a JV program,” Stockdale said. 

Because there is no JV team, a small number of freshmen have joined varsity.

“We have a couple freshmen that made the team,” Stockdale said. “Sari D’Agostino has been a positive person in the dugout and for our team. She comes to practice and enjoys the game of softball, and she’s such a joy to be around.” 

Other freshmen such as Peyton and Megan Bookspun have continued to impress as the season progresses. 

“Chloe Peyton has made an immediate impact on the field,” Stockdale said. “Megan Bookspun is another talented freshman pitcher, and has already started a varsity game for us this year. We look forward to them all being a key component to our team and the future of Midtown softball.”