Stuyvesant’s girls’ softball team was not satisfied with mediocrity. They were not satisfied with just making the playoffs. They had been there, done that. This season, the Renegades were searching for something more: a win in the playoffs for the first time in recent history. With their 11-6 upset of 13th seeded Bronx Science HS, the 20th seeded Stuyvesant Renegades found what they were looking for. Despite a crushing 13-0 loss to number four seed, Cardozo HS, in the second round of the playoffs, the Renegades can write this season off as a success.
The Renegades’ road to the playoffs was not an easy one. This year, they faced their toughest division yet. Last season, the Renegades had two teams that they were certain they could beat, but this season, “there wasn’t a single team in our division that was a guaranteed win,” junior outfielder Carolyn Lehman said of the increased level of the play they faced this year. From the top of the division to the bottom of the division, there wasn’t much difference in the skill of the opponents. The closeness of the division was shown by some of the wins and losses of the Renegades. Over the regular season, the team swept Murry Bergtraum, who finished ahead of Stuyvesant and placed third in the division at 10-5, but the Renegades only managed to split their two games against Manhattan Center, who finished second to last in the division at 5-10.
The loss to Manhattan Center was a particularly disheartening blow. The Renegades had been on a downward spiral towards the end of their season and that was their third loss in a row, leaving them with one last game to clinch a playoff berth.
To spur his team to victory in that final game against Hunter College High School, coach and physical education teacher Vincent Miller showed the girls some inspiring Rocky clips. He has had a great influence on the team and is a key part of their success. “Whether it’s at practice, or leaving for game, or even in the middle of a school day, if [we] need to go talk to him, he’s available,” senior first baseman and co-captain Kelly Quinn said of what Coach Miller does for his team.
In order to inspire their team for the game, co-captains Marlee Melendy, Alex Albright and Kelly Quinn, held a spirit day where they wore war paint the day before the game and got pumped. The captains also sat their team down and gave them a make it or break it speech about their season before the game. This is the second year of captainship for all three and the team feeds and grows off of the skill and leadership that they provide. “Mr. Miller can’t help everyone, and we only have one coach,” junior catcher Audrey Fleischner said of her captains. “So they serve as examples and help us to help ourselves.”
This season, the Stuyvesant Renegades defied expectations, turned a new leaf and reached new heights as they lived up to their newly adopted name. Though they are losing their captains, the Renegades are keeping some core players, like sophomores Anna Slade and Morgan Higgins and juniors Carolyn Lehman and Audrey Fleischner. For the Renegades, the future looks promising.