Andover Softball Co-Captain Katie Morris ’21 began playing softball in elementary school after watching her brother learn tee-ball. Although she is inspired by her brother, Morris also looks up to her former coach, Maddy Ryan, as a role model. Morris’ brother and her former coach Ryan have helped push Morris from novice to co-captain of Andover’s team her Senior year.
“I started playing when I think I was in first or second grade. It was because my brother had just started playing; he’s a year older than me… I looked up to him so I wanted to sort of be like him, so that’s kind of why I picked it up. [I also look up to my former coach, Maddy Ryan]. She really has encouraged me to be the best player I can and was probably the most influential coach and softball role model I’ve ever had,” said Morris.
As a co-captain at Andover during the Covid-19 pandemic, Morris has faced unprecedented circumstances while leading the team. This year, Morris has been trying to focus on team bonding exercises since many of the players are new to the team.
Morris said, “I’ve been trying to focus a lot on building some team camaraderie. I’ve really been encouraging team dinners, trying to make the warm-ups fun, playing music, talking to other girls, getting to know them… As much as they’re trying to get to know each other, I’m trying to get to know them. Most of this team has never met each other before, which is crazy to think of. It’s also a really young team, so I think part of it is giving guidance to the younger girls that are just experiencing Andover for the first time with all this craziness.”
According to Kylie Frank ’22, Morris helps build the aforementioned camaraderie as a strong communicator, especially with the younger players on the team.
Frank said, “One thing that’s really good about Katie is that she’s nice to everyone and she’s good at communicating with younger players, which oftentimes can be difficult with Seniors and freshmen.”
Besides her skill as a first basewoman, one of Morris’s more important traits as a co-captain is her supportiveness, which makes her well-suited for her leadership position, according to Co-Captain Gracie Flanagan ’21.
“Not only is she incredibly talented, but is always supportive, and an amazing teammate. I don’t think anyone deserves captain more than her, she is truly perfect for this position,” Flanagan said.
According to Morris, on the first day of practice, Morris felt nervous because of her desire to make the sport enjoyable for the other young players. As the only returning player, Morris feels as if she bears a large responsibility to lead the team.
Morris added, “I was probably more nervous for the first day than they were. I was really nervous because I didn’t know any of them and I wanted it to be a really good experience for them and sort of this whole season. I felt like I had sort of a lot on my shoulders just because I was the only person passing down the team dynamic because there are no other returning players.”
Despite feeling a large responsibility, Morris is excited about the prospect of having a young team. Although she will not be pursuing a softball career in college, Morris is looking forward to seeing the program at Andover grow in the upcoming years.
“I think that this team is sort of special because it’s just such a young team… This is the first time we get new players and it’s exciting for me to sort of see where the program is going to go in the next couple of years… More than anything, I’m excited to see our program grow. That’s what’s been most exciting for me,” said Morris.