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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 26, 2009

Lady Bird softball hoping to expand on lessons learned

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– Losing 18 games in a season can raise a lot of questions. It can also teach many lessons.

The Voorheesville softball team has nowhere to go but up after finishing 5-18 a year ago. The eight returning players are a little bit older and a little bit wiser.

“We’re still a fairly young club, but our aspirations are at a higher level,” said Head Coach Matt Fiato at practice on Wednesday. “We have two seniors, five juniors, and five players between eighth and 10th grade. We lost 10 games last year by three runs or less. Hopefully, these girls learned how to close out a win after going through that.”

Fiato told The Enterprise that seniors Kendra Campana and Kate Chiseri are going to have to step up as leaders and play beyond normal expectations. “My group of juniors need to play like seniors,” he said. “Their play will determine the success of this team.”

Voorheesville is the only Class C program in the Colonial Council and it wasn’t close to the .500 record needed to play in sectionals last year.

“Getting to .500 is a good goal for us this year and I fully expect that to happen,” said Fiato. “The Colonial is full of great softball teams from top to bottom. Mechanicville has been a state champion multiple times. We have to be prepared for anything and everything.”

Voorheesville has a whole new infield this year with a new player at every position. Angela Barone is at third, Kelsey DeZalia at shortstop, Amanda Gatt at second, and Kelsey Wegner at first.

Alexa Dillenbeck, Morgan Vandervort, and Gatt will have pitching duty this season. Dillenbeck threw 20 innings last year and Vandervort completed 30.

“Dillenbeck and Vandervort are not really power pitchers, but they are quite effective when on,” Fiato said. “Gatt is new to the team and she will provide some good stuff. She’s only in eighth grade, but we brought her up for a reason.”

DeZalia is filling the spot of four-year starter Brittany Vogel. “This is DeZalia’s third year on the team,” said Fiato. “We’ve played her at a different infield position every year. We joke with her and say we’ll have her at first base next season.”

Coach Fiato knows that there is a huge difference between practice and an actual game. He tries to recreate game situations as much as possible.

“Everyone needs to be able to lay down a nice bunt and play smart softball,” Fiato said. “Games come down to two or three big plays and, if you make those, you usually win. I try to simulate those situations.”

“My team needs to let loose of all the pressure and play like a team,” said Fiato. “I constantly see room for improvement. I ask myself, ‘Can we do this?’ The answer is leaning towards yes.”

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