Softball moves to Cochituate Field amid field construction

Recently, the WHS softball field has been under construction as a start to the overall rebuilding of the athletic facilities. For the last couple weeks of the season, the varsity softball team had been moving their practices and games to Cochituate Field due to the construction. “[We’ve been] all hands on deck, jumping into people’s cars and trying to get there,” sophomore Charlotte Salitsky said.

Credit: Madeline Maurer

Recently, the WHS softball field has been under construction as a start to the overall rebuilding of the athletic facilities. For the last couple weeks of the season, the varsity softball team had been moving their practices and games to Cochituate Field due to the construction. “[We’ve been] all hands on deck, jumping into people’s cars and trying to get there,” sophomore Charlotte Salitsky said.

Madeline Maurer

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This year, the athletic facilities at WHS were approved for a near-complete renovation. Although the turf field renovation is the face of the project, many other changes are being made to the WHS campus. Upon entering the school grounds, one can see the first steps of this project: the clearing of the softball field.

The softball field is in the process of being torn out so that tennis and basketball courts may be put in its place. The softball field will be rebuilt in the back of the school where the tennis courts currently are. Meanwhile, the current softball field will be off-limits until construction ends.

“The construction of the softball field is the first step in the overall major construction of our athletic facilities, so it’s my understanding that it will be off-limits or closed until the project is done, which is sometime this fall,” softball coach Erin Ryan said.

Despite the construction, the varsity softball team wanted to finish their season as always. The team’s last day on the old field was May 17, and for the last couple of weeks of the season, they made accommodations so that they could continue to practice and play.

“I think [it had] been about two weeks, and, since then, we’ve had to go down to Cochituate [Field] for every practice and game,” sophomore Charlotte Salitsky said.

Moving their routine over to a different field created some challenges for the softball team. Transportation was among the first issues they came across. Since the team was short on drivers, it was a difficult task to get all of the girls to Cochituate Field for practice every day.

“[We had] to get rides to Cochituate [Field], and that [was] really difficult for a lot of us because there [was] only one senior on the team, so only one person [could] drive, so that [was] kind of difficult,” sophomore captain Abby Gavron said. “Sometimes, our coach [was] able to take us on the minibus, but not every day, so it [was] a little more complicated.”

In addition to the issue of travel, the team has also found that some of the features of the home field would be missed during the change. In particular, the absence of woods behind the field, which offer the advantage of a ‘dead-ball zone,’ makes Cochituate Field somewhat more difficult to play on.

“One thing that did get taken away a little bit on our home-field advantage was the woods,” Ryan said. “If a ball rolls into the woods, it’s dead. Now, down at Cochituate, not only is there no dead-ball area or a fence, but until [the last] week, there were also JV games happening at the same time, so the ball goes into another game, or we’ll have balls from the other game coming into ours, which is a little bit of an adjustment.”

While the shift to Cochituate Field has brought some complications to the team, the project should ultimately bring about positive changes for the team’s next season. The field was rocky before construction, and the renovation may help improve the girls’ games.

“Some of the circles, when it gets wet, it’s like sliding on concrete,” Ryan said. “There’s a lot of rocks, so we spend a lot of our pregame pulling rocks out. As games go on, pitchers, specifically on the mound, when they’re dragging, they’re actually picking up rocks.”

Although the girls may feel sentimental about the old field, they are also excited for the new field to be put in. The new field will potentially make their practices easier and offer new advantages that the team didn’t have before.

“I’m really excited for a new field because ours right now is really rocky and there are lots of divots in the grass, so I think a new field may improve our play,” Gavron said. “I’m excited about that.”

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