NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - Last year, the hopes of New Hatford softball were dashed by J-D, in the form of a 1-0 playoff loss. But the Lady Spartans have put that behind them and are back and focused on 2011.
"They're anxious to get out there and take the team to not only a good regular season record, but the sectionals, get back into deeper post-sectional play, maybe semifinals, finals," says head coach John Cunningham. "Maybe be lucky enough to come out of sectionals and go on to state play."
"I've been waiting all winter for this. It's good to be back with my team, we have good chemistry this year, it's so exciting," says senior catcher and infielder Krista Pristera. "We have to play every game to all seven innings, from the first pitch to the last pitch."
"It's going to be a really fun season, this team is fun," added senior pitcher Bianca Pavia. "I think we're going to be really good. We have a lot of potential. Each player can back us up, if someone makes a mistake there's someone there to back them up and fix it."
There's been a big change in high school softball this year, with the mound moving back from 40 feet to 43 feet. The Spartans say they'll be ready for it, because a lot of the team has played summer ball with the mound at that distance.
"Our two pitchers, they throw as hard as they did at 40 feet," says Pristera. "But I don't know about other teams. We take it, maybe different than others."
"It gives the batters more time, so I think there will be more hits this year and it's more of a reaction time for the pitchers, so they're going to have to defend more," adds Pavia.
"I don't think it's going to affect us," says Cunnigham. "There are going to be schools it will affect, girls who didn't go to summer travel ball, girls who are just seasonal pitchers for the spring. There will be an adjustment for them."
The Spartans first test is Whitesboro, but they'll have a lot of tough competition throughout the TVL season.