They went through a tough season, but they kept their heads up. The Huntington High School junior varsity softball team went winless in 12 games, yet several players managed to shine.
Most of the Blue Devils’ troubles could be traced to a small roster size, which put a clamp on lineup versatility. “The team in general struggled a bit because of a lack of numbers and players with experience, but that did not hold these girls back,” head coach Maria Canino said.
The season-ending roster included Annalise Alleyne, Vanessa Bonilla, Jacqueline Canton-Guarda, Emily Ferreira, Reyna Garcia, Yasmin Khilji-Neal, Rose Marie Lopez, Madeline Meidenman, Andriana Messina, Abigail Troiano, Kelly Vilorio, Kayla Williams and Emily Yonkes.
Huntington JV softball coach Maria Canino.
“They stuck together and stayed positive all the way through our final game and I am very proud of them for that,” Canino said. “It shows their true character.”
Meidenman led the Huntington JV with 16 hits. “Maddy is a freshman catcher who has great natural skill for the game,” Canino said. “She also has a great knowledge of the game and is always willing to learn and improve. Her work ethic will allow her to move to the next level and be a valuable player again next year. From blocking behind the plate to hitting long balls at bat, I have no doubt that Maddy will continue to help this program grow.”
Bonilla sparkled in the field and also banged out nine hits. “Vanessa was our shortstop, which she easily transitioned to from playing outfield last year,” Canino said. “She has great glove skills and range and a strong arm, which allowed her to be our strongest infielder. She made both routine and outstanding plays.”
Garcia also made a transition in the field, going from outfield last year to first base this spring. “A natural leader, Reyna was able to take charge on the field,” said Canino about the player who hit safely nine times. “Her hard work allowed her to become a solid first baseman for us and her willingness to help her teammates get better made her a vital part of this team.”
Canton-Garcia played third base for the team and collected 10 hits. “Jackie’s experience playing softball was noticed by her teammates and opponents,” Canino said. “Her glove skills allowed her to succeed at third. Her experience also helped her at the plate.”
The Blue Devils’ best all-around game came against West Islip. “We played well and entered the fifth inning trailing 10-5,” Canino said. “Though we lost, it was the most runs we scored in a game.”
Another highlight was the triple play the Blue Devils pulled off in the final game of the season against North Babylon. Bonilla snagged a fifth inning line drive and turned a 6-3-5 triple play, “which was the most exciting play of the season for our team,” Canino said. “I was mainly proud of the girls because they turned this play as a result of their focus and communication. It was definitely a proud coach moment.”
Canino expects all of the underclassmen to return to the field for the high school program next spring.