The Palo Alto High School softball team (1-1, 0-0) is seeking to move up in the standings after last year’s mediocre season, inspired by a manager stressing the importance of working hard.
Last season, the team finished with an overall record of 14-13, a fifth place finish in the El Camino League Standings. With six departing seniors highlighted by pitcher Julia Saul and second baseman Hannah Bundy, second-year manager Bill Laskey, former San Francisco Giants, Montreal Expos and Cleveland Indians pitcher, will need this year’s five seniors to step up to the plate in their absence.
Like in previous years, this year’s team captains consist of the seniors: first baseman/outfielder Autumn Macareno, outfielder Julianna Heron, outfielder Maddy Jones, outfielder/designated hitter Kabria Dame and pitcher/infielder Casey Glassford.
“The goal of the team this season is to improve on what we did last year,” assistant coach Mike Dutto said. “We want to be better than just a little over .500 [record].”
During team tryouts, coaches made the decision to cut three senior players, one of whom was playing for the team last season. Dutto explained the move as a tough but necessary decision.
“We would like to keep everyone, but we can’t if [the players] are just going to sit on the bench the whole time,” Dutto said. “We have a new program here, and we are developing our younger players, who need to play.”
Sophomore third basemen Maggie Renteria praised Laskey’s motivating influence.
“I like how he really pushes us to work hard,” Renteria said. “He is really motivating and focused on helping us. I think his number one priority is for everyone to be the best they can be and always play one hundred percent as a team.”
Junior second basemen Jesse Kim agreed with Renteria, emphasizing Laskey’s dedication to his players.
“I like how he seems to be very dedicated and intent on improving everyone,” Kim said.
The girls’ first league game is at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18 at Monta Vista High School.