By Jordan Rodriguez
With no 2020 season, the Hammond Varsity softball team is still the reigning County Champions (2019 County Champions) and they are looking to continue as the County champs. The softball team is led by the Varsity coach Mr. Russell Kovach, who has been a part of Hammond’s amazing softball program going on three years now and is a biology teacher at Hammond. As of 2020, the softball team has added a new member to the coaching staff Ms. Anna Pallozzi, who is a middle school teacher and another great leader in the softball program. She is currently the Junior Varsity coach.
Due to the pandemic, this year’s softball season is starting a little later than it would any other year. The season will start around the middle of April and everyone is very excited to get back out on the field once again. Senior captain Abbie Weirich says, “I can’t wait to get out on the field and play as a team with the people I care about.” Abbie has been a four year varsity member and is only one of two senior captains, she plays outfield and is an amazing offensive and defensive player. Her confidence radiates to everyone on the team and she pushes everyone to be their best. She only has one thing she wants to accomplish, not just as a captain, but as a leader, “I’m looking to accomplish a winning season, and I don’t mean winning, I mean playing all as one and trying our hardest for the ones around us on the field.” This season is going to be one to remember under the two senior captains, it’s one you won’t want to miss.
One thing that will be a challenge for the team this season unlike any other season will be how covid will affect their schedule and their safety. Safety is top priority for all, so wearing a mask and respecting the covid guidelines will play a huge role in this season. Coach Kovach says he wants the players to be safe first, but needs everyone to be flexible as the scheduling of games will be a challenge and can always change. Another challenge may be the returners coming back and whether or not there will be enough girls for two teams, or only enough for one.
The roster from 2020 is returning and coach Kovach says, “I know our outfield looks great anchored by returning senior speedster Abbie Weirich, and a very very solid infield bolstered by a strong mix of juniors and sophomores and anchored by senior lefty pitcher Jordan Rodriguez.”
Coach Kovach knows his team will be the one to compete with. It is hard to determine whether or not there will be two small teams that would consist of 11 players each, or one large varsity team; we won’t know until we get closer to tryout dates later in April when the coaching staff can figure out how many total girls will be trying out for the 2021 season. As we get closer to the beginning of the season, the incredible competitive spirit of this team will shine through.
Being the previous County Champions, all eyes will be on our school and our team. Everyone is going to want to take our softball team down so we can’t let our guard down or come at any team with less fight and drive. Our competition is going to be much stronger than in the previous years, especially with every team wanting to knock us off the pedestal for winning the championship again this year.
Junior Kasey Smith says, “The competition is going to always be tough and that’s how we have to look at every team we play to make sure we don’t give up, but I know for sure we are going to be the team everyone wants to beat.” The competitiveness of this upcoming roster will be far stronger than previous seasons, with the leadership of the two seniors and the coaching staff, the girls will be pushing to be the best on the field over each team they go against and won’t stop till they receive that 2021 County championship title to have for Hammond High School. This season is one to not miss; the fire under this team is much stronger than before.