Continuing Without Pitcher Collins ’04, PA Softball Tallies Two Wins Against Worcester, North Reading

When Danielle Collins ’04 made public her decision to leave the Varsity Girls Softball team last Thursday, the choice not only shocked but worried the rest of the team. With many new recruits, the Softball team held high expectations for the season. However, PA has quickly pulled itself together and come away with two solid victories in the past week. “When you play a sport, you play it for yourself, for your teammates and for your coach. At Andover, there was just something missing for me,” Collins said. “Due to personal issues and tensions that date back to my Lower year, it was in my best interest to leave the team. I love the girls and leaving was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. But my heart just wasn’t in the game any longer.” Collins continued, “I expect that with Amy’s pitching, the team will still do very well. A lot of depth has been added to the lineup with the help of four new starters this year; with less then half the team comprised of Uppers and Seniors, younger players will get the chance to show what they can accomplish. I have high hopes for the team and I will continue to support them from the sidelines.” As a four year starter, the loss of leader Collins will present obstacles that the Andover must overcome. The Girls are left with only two Seniors on the team. Furthermore, Amy Prosper ’06 will need to step up immediately as the team’s number-one pitcher instead of sharing equal playing time with Collins. When Andover plays multiple games, JV pitcher Natalie Kaiser ‘07 will also provide support, but for the most part, Prosper will pitch every game. Despite their setbacks, Andover has proven that even losing a starting pitcher is not enough to thwart their enthusiasm. Shutting down Worchester 3-0 Friday, PA went on to defeat North Redding 6-4 on Wednesday. Against Worchester Prosper pitched an amazing one-hitter, allowing only three base runners on a hit, an error and a walk. Prosper said of the game, “It was awesome seeing our team not only come together after such a surprise, but to win with a shutout. When we start winning early on, it sets a strong and confident foundation as we progress further into the season. Every game, I tell myself to go out and throw my hardest; but it won’t be me winning games, it will be a combination of our tight defense and strong bats.” The highlight of the game came in the fifth inning when catcher Megan Winn ’05 fielded a bunt cleanly, threw it to first baseman and Captain Dorothy Voorhees ’04 for the first out, followed by Voorhees tossing the ball back to Winn for an out at the plate. On Wednesday, North Reading took the lead with a run in the first inning. Andover answered back with another run, but their opponents quickly added two more runs to the score in the following inning. The score was left 3-1 until Andover made a comeback in the fourth inning to tie the game. Despite a late run in the seventh inning, North Reading was not capable of bringing the score closer. Once again, Prosper pitched a solid game, allowing only two earned runs. “It’s tough to lose a pitcher like Danielle…but everyone on the team deserves credit for their willingness to switch positions, if necessary, and do whatever is in the team’s interests. I’m really proud of the way they’ve stepped up. Both seniors Dorothy and Devon [Dickerson ‘04] have set a great example,” said Coach Peter Drench.