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PRC softball uses jamboree to calm nerves, ready for season

Pearl River Central’s softball team played two jamboree games last Friday in preparation for the start of the season and lost 2-0 to Harrison Central while defeating West Harrison 9-2.

The Lady Blue Devils have been hard at work getting young players up to speed after losing the majority of last season’s starting line up to graduation.

Head Coach Tony Labella knows his team is on the right track, now it’s just a matter of speeding up the learning process.

“I thought we showed improvement. We’re not anywhere near where we need to be, but we were a lot better than we were a month ago. We’re getting better, we just need to get better quicker,” Labella said.

One such area that could use some improvement is the team’s execution defensively.

All of the runs given up by PRC during the two games were unearned, meaning defensive miscues were the cause.

If PRC wants to have another shot at bringing home a district championship, issues like that will have to get cleaned up as the season goes on.

“We thought our pitchers threw really well, but it’s going to be hard to score as many runs as we did last year so our defense has to be better. We have to do a better job of supporting our pitchers,” Labella said.

The team’s overall inexperience means there are going to be some growing pains as the season progresses.

Athletes have to acclimate to new teammates, new roles and in some cases new positions.

It takes time for a team to smooth those mechanics out, and Labella knows the future holds plenty of unknowns.

“Hopefully we keep getting getter but it’s kind of unknown. This is the youngest team I’ve ever had, the most new starters I’ve ever had. You know what you’re going to get from practice, but at the same time you kind of don’t know because in between the lines anything can happen,” Labella said.

Right now the Lady Blue Devils are using a trial and error process to determine who fits where.

With so many positions having to be filled, there’s a learning curve for the players as they adapt to being in the starting lineup on softball’s varsity level.

Labella is pulling strings and trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together so that when district play starts later in the season the players are ready.

“Right now we’re sort of trying different combinations and giving people chances to do some things. There are three kids still in basketball right now so we’re playing a little shorthanded,” Labella said.