Softball Is On The Up!


Softball is a direct descendant from baseball- America’s pastime. The sport takes skill, heart, and determination to come out on top. The FDR Softball team made it into the playoffs this year, coming out of Covid-19 restrictions. Seniors, Esmarlyn Jaquez Arnaud and Aneiyah Bastien, made up the core of an outstanding team. The New Dealer sat down with Coach Hayes for an interview about the team and the game of softball as a whole.

According to Coach Hayes, his favorite thing about coaching the Softball team, all comes down to one thing, watching his players develop into what he knows they can be. The development of his players during the season is his favorite thing about coaching. Throughout the season, the players start to really fall in love with the game and have passion for it. Coach Hayes sees this manifesting in his players. Coach Hayes played baseball, so naturally when a spot to coach Softball at FDR came his way, he took it! Softball is a hard sport just like any other, therefore, being the coach is a difficult task as well. Naturally there will be difficulties that a coach will have to face, when coaching a team.

A challenge that Coach Hayes has is taking in players with limited softball skills, and molding them, into players that FDR can use to win games. On top of that, as a coach, he has to manage different skill levels from different players. For example juniors and seniors could be on different skill levels, so managing their skills is key to having an effective practice. Practice planning can be difficult, but it is rewarding when athletes start reaching their potential. Coach Hayes was grateful to have players like Esmarlyn and Aneiyah leading the younger players on the team.

A big challenge that the team had to face, going into high stakes games, was hitting (batting). Coach Hayes said hitting more consistently to win playoff games was the biggest obstacle. It was a deciding factor if they continued or went home. Hitting with power towards the outfield will be what they need to do to make it further next year.

In softball, there are also lessons to be learned. Since the team had practice every day, what coach Hayes wanted to instill in his players was to take the sport seriously- while still having fun! The players need to learn discipline, but enjoy playing the game, balancing both of those aspects of the game is the goal that Coach Hayes tries to teach. During practice the team goes over everything from hitting all the way to pitching. They were out there practicing for 2 hours on week days, while also practicing Saturdays to really hone their skills. Coach Hayes said an important key to being in the playoffs is focus on each game, one at a time. Take each game as they come. Thinking too far ahead will make you less present in the moment and cause you to lose the game right in front of you. After a 12-3 record, and a playoff win under their belt, the loss to Morris Educational Campus hurt. However, looking back at the season this was an amazing team. Led by an excellent coach and talented athletes.

At the end of the interview with Coach Hayes, I asked him one final question. How would you describe the Softball team in only three words? The three words he chose that best fit the team, in his opinion, were fun, energetic, dedicated. These Cougars made the entire school proud. Congrats Lady Cougars on an outstanding year!