NEW BRITAIN - The Goodwin Tech softball team is heading to the Class S state tournament once again. It also knows there is plenty of work to be done.
After concluding their regular season Wednesday with an 11-10 record, the Gladiators are going into the postseason in less than ideal circumstances, losing their last three games and by wide margins.
In those losses, Goodwin Tech has been outscored by a combined 56-13. The Gladiators lost 19-4 go Kaynor Tech, 20-5 to Cheney Tech and 17-4 to Canton.
Seemingly, everything has gone wrong for the team of late, including an inability to produce on offense and make plays on defense.
“We knew going in the last five or six games, it was going to be tough,” Goodwin Tech head coach Paul Soucy said. We have to step up and get back to basics. Ground balls, fielding, making throws.
One thing the Gladiators have going for them is their experience, with six seniors listed on their roster.
“Our seniors have been so key for us,” Souncy said. “Teresa [Lopez] behind the plate and Paola [Barbosa] at shortstop. Game in and game out, they’ve been attacking the ball. Teresa has also improved so much over her three or four years here. Shaneyska [Santiago] has given us some good innings in right field and some good at bats throughout the season. Leina [Rivera] took over the spot at third base for us this year and made us a much better defensive team. Tiana [Afanador] has given us some good at-bats as well.”
One senior who hasn’t even seen the field this season is Janeris Martinez, who hurt her ankle in a preseason scrimmage and has missed the entire season as a result. But Soucy sees her presence on the bench as a big plus for the team.
“Just her being here means a lot to us,” Soucy said.
The feeling about Martinez and the rest of the seniors definitely spills over into the dugout. Valerie Ramirez, a sophomore pitcher, said each of seniors have made a big impact on her.
“They’re a great group of girls that I’ve grown very close too,” Ramirez said of the seniors. “It definitely won’t be the same next year. I’m going to miss them very much. They’re my role models who have helped me grow over the past two years. I just wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.”
The Gladiators may be headed to postseason play again, but they still have plenty of hurdles to jump over if they’re going to make a serious title run. Goodwin Tech will be looking to its seniors to set the tone and that means limiting mistakes.
“We have to emphasize that in these tournament games, we can’t give teams four or five outs in an inning,” Soucy said. “If we play defense and get a few key hits, there’s no telling what can happen.”
Tyler Roaix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org