Last year, Stuyvesant’s girls’ softball team was a force to be reckoned with in the Manhattan A division. It finished in second place, behind Manhattan Center, with a 12-6 record and made a strong showing in its unfortunate first round playoff loss. This year, with a new name—the Renegades—and an experienced team, the team members hope to make it past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
The team will be led by second year captains and seniors Marlee Melendy, Kelly Quinn and Alex Albright, who, according to coach and physical education teacher Vincent Miller, “are all driving forces for the team both on and off the field,” he said.
Miller has great confidence in the ability of his captains to lead the team to success this season. Melendy, the starting shortstop, is praised by Coach Miller as a player who “excels at hitting for average, hitting for power, base-running skills and speed, throwing ability and fielding abilities,” he said. Quinn, according to Miller, “has been a ‘clutch’ performer for [the team] in the past,” as a hitter and the starting first baseman and will hopefully continue her strong play this season. Albright, a pitcher and the team’s “franchise player”, in the eyes of Coach Miller, is “a true leader [whose] love for the game anddesire to win is noticeable and contagious,” he said.
The players on the team also believe their captains help keep the team together. “The captains keep the energy up and inspire us,” junior Audrey Fleischner said. “They each bring something different to the team.”
The team was relatively young last year with only one senior, Whitney Ko (’09). That sense of youth has matured this year to make a powerful veteran squad. Ko, a defensive powerhouse third baseman, the team’s leadoff hitter and an integral part of their success last season, will be replaced by Albright and sophomore Morgan Higgins, who will rotate between pitcher and third baseman. Higgins, as well as sophomore Ana Slade and freshman Liana Penny, is just one of many young players who will be expected to fill big roles. “We’ve got five really competent freshmen this year,” Fleischner said.
Older veterans will need to step up too. Fleischner switched positions to play catcher last season when the team was without one. She picked up the role instinctively and has continued to progress this year. Although she suffered from a wrist injury last season, with a year of experience as a catcher behind her and a healed wrist, she will be able to contribute greatly to the team.
To emphasize its change in attitude this year, the team has changed its name from the Chipmunkz to the Renegades. The team may have changed its name because, as Quinn put it, the name “Chipmunkz doesn’t exactly strike fear in enemy hearts,” she said. Or maybe the team is just trying to inspire change. The Renegades hope a new team name will alter the mindset of the team from that of cuddly, woodland creatures to fierce competitors.
The Renegades believe that with the new additions to the roster, and with returning players maturing and stepping up, the team can be the start, as Albright put it, of the “coming of a new generation of softball”at Stuyvesant High School.