Stratford High softball captains, from left, Taylor Lubas, Melissa Uhrynowski, Angela Grindrod and Rachel Newall lead the team into a season of optimism. (Photo by John Nash)

SEASON PREVIEW: Stratford softball looking to celebrate next-level success

STRATFORD—If you follow the Stratford High softball team on social media, you know the energy is high and the outlook is positive.

The season is not played on Twitter or Facebook, however.

It’s between the baselines and Team Sherrick—head coach Jackie and her husband, Gary—still think the Red Devils have what it takes to put together a positive season.

“It’s been four years of our style, our method and they’re adapting to it,” said Gary Sherrick, who joined his wife when she was named coach four years ago. “Our seniors are the first full class we’ve had, and to see the positive impact has been great. Our motto is just get better every day.”

In the Sherrick’s first two seasons at Stratford, the Red Devils had back-to-back two-win seasons.

Last year, though, Stratford won eight games and made the state tournament.

Only three seniors graduated from that team, leaving a lot of veteran players behind heading into this season.

“That alone is showing us we should be believing,” Sherrick said. “There’s no reason we can’t make another trip to states, but why can’t we host? If you can host a state tournament game, or an SWC game, you’re doing something right.”

The program’s turn-around can be pin-pointed with the arrival of two players, who took the game seriously and played year-round.

Junior pitcher Angela Grindrod and junior shortstop Rachel Newall are the engines that rest of the program is charged up by.

“When Angela came in, she had only been pitching for two years, but she did well,” Sherrick said. “It’s like here’s the key to castle, you drive the ship.

“But it wasn’t just her. When she came in as a freshman, she also came in with Rachel, our shortstop. Between those two, they both play travel and since then more girls have started playing, too.”

Grindrod and Newall are both captains along with seniors Taylor Lubas and Melissa Uhrynowski.

Sherrick calls Lubas, the Red Devils’ center field, “a five-tool player who could play at the next level” while Uhrynowski will man second base and help the Red Devils be strong up the middle.

Behind the plate, Riley Matto will be commanding things as she sees the hold field while at the corners are first baseman Hayden Smith, a sophomore, and Naidrea Alston at third base.

While Lubas has center field nailed down, Stratford’s corner outfielders could be Skyler Boibeaux, Abby Smith or freshman Alyssa Diaz.

“They’re still battling it out,” Sherrick said days before Saturday’s season opener against Trinity Catholic.

Other varsity players supplying the Red Devils with some depth are Bella DeLorenzo, Christina Carrillo, Jenna Zabaneh, Kat Gonzalez and Alyssa Caramanica.

It’s a roster that could put together one Stratford’s best season in years.

The Red Devils will have to do it on the field, however, and celebrate that success on social media

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