WHS softball team takes a swing at the challenges thrown their way


The 2022 softball team gathers for a photo. PHOTO/courtesy of Bella Pettinato

Molly Ross, Sports editor

As many spring sports teams start up their seasons, the WHS softball team has faced many changes including combining with the Watertown softball team as an opportunity to play due to the deficiency of Weston players this year. This decision ensures that players have the chance to play the sport that they love, though not all former WHS softball players have chosen to do so.

   Players appreciate the chance to play even though it isn’t the same as previous seasons. 

   “I am not super excited about combining with another town, but I am just happy that I get to play,” junior Bella Pettinato said.

   Athletic director Michael McGrath and Sanford have been working hard to provide these athletes with the chance to play this season. 

   “I am really sure that our student athletes that really love the sport of softball have the opportunity to play. And whether they take us up on that opportunity, that’s up to them. However, based on the situation where we didn’t have enough players to field a team here in Weston this year, we are giving them the opportunity,” McGrath said. “Although we know that it is a commute that not everyone is used to, it is a great way to make friends with kids from other school districts that could be lifelong friends down the road.”

   Others who have worked with the WHS team agree that this change is a good option.

   “I think that combining with Watertown is the best prospect for the high school softball players, and is really the only opportunity for them to play this spring,” WHS tech integration specialist and former assistant softball coach Michael Sanford said. “It is definitely not optimal; we would much rather them play for Weston because as you can imagine it is definitely hard to play with another school and meet all new people, but it’s the only real opportunity for them to play this year.”

   In order to combine with Watertown, McGrath spent lots of time creating that opportunity. 

   “I got in contact with many different schools to see if they had room for some Weston players on their teams, and Watertown was nice enough to take our players so we took advantage of that,” McGrath said. “It is all still so new, but as of right now all games and practices will be held at Watertown, however we also offered to host a few games or practices at Weston.” 

   Because of these changes, most players have decided not to play and to pursue other things this spring. 

   “I am not playing softball this spring, because to play I would have to play in Watertown, which is pretty far and inconvenient,” junior Julia Baumert said. “I have also already committed to helping out with the middle school softball team and managing the Weston girls varsity lacrosse team.”

   For the players that have decided to join the Watertown team, adjusting to their dynamic will take time. 

   “Although it is only me and Jordan Gilli playing with the Watertown girls, they have been super welcoming and kind,” Pettinato said. “It is definitely a little difficult because I am not sure how their team runs in comparison to our team, but as the season goes on everything will set into place.”

   Even though there is no high school softball team this spring, that hasn’t stopped Sanford from continuing to consider the future of the program. 

   “This spring I really want to put my time and energy into helping grow the middle school program, which would be the root to a healthy future for the softball program at the high school,” Sanford said. “Including finding new coaches to slowly take over the program so that I can purely focus on just the high school team in the future.”

   Players hope for the rebuilding of the team so that they can have a normal season next year. 

   “I would love to play next year if I can help recruit enough middle schoolers to play on the high school team next spring. That way we’ll have enough players for a team, and we won’t need to combine with another town,” Baumerrt said. 

   From the help of both McGrath and Sanford, the future of WHS softball is looking bright. 

   “Mr. Sanford does a great job at bringing as many players, kids, and families together by reaching out to various local softball programs as well as the middle school and high kids,” McGrath said. “So we definitely have the right person in place who is definitely going to be able to mold this program into what we envision in the future.”