For the past three consecutive seasons, the Stone Ridge varsity softball program has competed in the ISL A Division Championship. In 2015, the team was confident, yet, in the end, too young and ultimately overwhelmed by a very strong Episcopal team. The following season in 2016, the talent, experience, and conviction were all there as the team ended the regular season as co-champions, suffering only one defeat and breezing through the playoffs. The team played a near perfect game against St. Stephens & St. Agnes only to lose a heartbreaker 3-2.
With a lot of key members of the team returning, 2017 clearly seemed like the year the team would finally break through. As is the case in sports, you don't win on paper and you have to play the games! Opponents had a different belief, and heading into the final game of the regular season, which was senior day, the team was one game under .500, and postseason success appeared impossible. However, despite mix ups with start times, something special happened to this team. In fact, it had been evident all season that the talent and potential was there, but not until about the 4th inning of that game against Madeira did everything come together and "click." After battling for the first four innings, the game ended with the Gators winning 16-6. The team clearly found its groove--it found its swagger, and that mojo visibly continued during the quarterfinal playoff game with a win, 18-1.
Next up in the semi-final game this past Saturday was first-seed and regular season champion Episcopal. The champs came into the game with an undefeated regular season record, a relatively easy defeat of the Gators earlier in the season, a dominant pitcher, and by all accounts appeared unstoppable. The Gators had different plans, and overcame not only incredible odds, but showed incredible character and grit pulling out an exciting 7-6 win that no one other than themselves ever gave them a chance to win.
In the championship on Sunday, it was clear the team was not going to lose a third straight final, easily defeating GDS 16-7. GDS certainly didn't make it easy for the first 5 innings, but the Gators broke the game open in the 6th and never looked back. The senior trio of Grace Heming, Maddie Bryant, and Landry Werth provided the perfect leadership and experience for a team that was well-balanced in each class with juniors Carly Page, Cate Willing, Ciara Collins, sophomores Catherine Heming, Mel Pane, Addi Poole, Meaghan Carey, Genevieve Lange, and freshman Katherine Pane.
Congratulations, Gators, on your championship! #goSRgators #GatorStrong #SRtogether