Despite Fallon O’Connor ’23 batting five for seven with three runs batted in, Andover Softball came up short in both games against Cushing this past Sunday, losing 2-5 and 11-12. The team’s record now stands at 0-2-0.
According to O’Connor, being at home and having fans cheering for the team helped players rebound after mistakes, and the supporters’ energy fueled Andover’s players to succeed.
“I think that having the fans was really supporting, and I think for the whole team and myself it felt more encouraging and more positive. The louder the fans were, the more energy the team had as a whole. It was easier to come back from an error made defensively or offensively, and it really picked up the team,” said O’Connor.
According to O’Connor, in the second game of the double-header when the team was down 7-0 heading into the third inning, maintaining a supportive and positive attitude with one another led them to gain a 9-8 lead in the fourth inning.
O’Connor said, “Even though we were losing at the time, the fact that we were all staying positive and encouraging one another, and being part of the team, [everyone] on the team supports one another and that kept us going because we know that we have the ability to beat other teams as long as we work together.”
A pivotal moment in the game two comeback was the 3-run home run by Kiley Buckley ’23 in the bottom of the fourth inning, according to O’Connor.
“In [the third and fourth innings] we got a bunch of hits, and usually when you get a bunch of hits, it keeps rolling, and it brings everyone’s energy up, especially Kiley Buckley’s homer really brought the team up,” said O’Connor.
This year, Andover Softball only has one player rostered with previous experience on the team. Because of this, one of the differences both offensively and defensively from the first game of the double-header compared to the second was getting comfortable as a team and recognizing the abilities of each player, according to O’Connor.
“Even though we’ve been practicing, it was our first game all together, so I thought that it was really great in the second game versus the first game because we had actually played together in that first game and it helped us in the second game because we knew where our strengths were as a team and we executed in those areas,” said O’Connor.
According to Softball Captain Katie Morris ’21, Sunday’s games served as an opportunity to get rid of the nerves that come with the first game of the season, as well as the first game on a new team.
“First game playing in high school, first game with this group of girls, first game probably in a while for some people who didn’t get to play over the summer. I think a big part of [these two games] was getting our nerves out, so I’m not at all disappointed about our losses. Honestly, I’m really happy that the girls had fun and that everybody is really excited for the rest of the season. I think that’s what’s important. Everybody got experience and we got the first-game jitters out,” said Morris.
Putting the two losses behind, O’Connor and Morris still believe that there were many positives to take away from Sunday’s double-header.
O’Connor said, “I think that it was a really great start to the season. Even though we lost, it will fuel us to do better in the future, and now we know what we need to work on for our next games. I thought that offensively everyone was taking swings and hitting the ball, and defensively we made many great plays that were executed well including catches in the outfield, plays at first base, and so on, which I thought was great.”
“I don’t really think of it as a defeat so much because I think what was really important was getting that experience for all of these girls because it was their first Andover game ever. The focus was more a post-game reflection, like how did we play as a team, how we can work together, and how we can support each other to do better. As the season goes on, I think we’ll get more into the technicalities of the play,” added Morris.
Andover hopes to earn its first win of the season against Deerfield this upcoming Saturday.