The high school softball season is a long one, but nearing the halfway mark it’s time for some to make their move in the standings and stake their claim to a playoff spot in late May.
In the Henlopen North Division, both Caesar Rodney and Polytech are hoping to reach the postseason. CR entered the break with a 5-2 mark, looking to build off a strong first half. Meanwhile, the Lady Panthers have struggled and look to turn things around.
Lake Forest, in the Henlopen South, sits at 4-2 heading into the break among a handful of teams looking up at division leader Delmar.
Caesar Rodney ended last week with a victory over Cape Henlopen, their third straight after a 2-2 start.
The Lady Riders have been led by a number of contributors this season, including Alyssa Ball, Sophia Badell, Alexxys Harris, Jada Courtney, Lauren Scott, Courtney Malin, Alexis Howerin and Jazmine Stamas.
That group is hoping to finish the season strong, especially after seeing their season end too soon a year ago in the second round of the playoffs.
“We felt that we were a good team last year, but losing our second round game lit a fire to be even better,” said CR Head Coach Skye Boris. “Obviously, it was not the outcome we wanted, but we learned from it and have begun to prepare to go even further this year.”
For Polytech, they’ve struggled to find consistency this season having won back-to-back games just once this season.
After starting the season 1-3, they rallied of two straight wins before dropping two straight heading into the break against Red Lion and Milford.
Despite their struggles, a talented group which includes Hayley DiCarlantonio, Katie Burawski, Kelsie Burawski and Briana Stevenson, have put together some solid victories this season, including a 7-6 win over defending state champions Caravel Academy.
The Lady Panthers still have time to improve their standings, as they continue to adjust to one another under Head Coach Kristy Vodvarka who took over this season for Jenn Bradshaw who led Polytech to a state title several years ago.
As Coach Vodvarka and the team continue to grow together, it’s important to Vodvarka to keep the traditions of the Lady Panthers’ program alive, which they hope will lead to more victories in the second half.
“The program has been very successful and I have been lucky enough to be a part of the program’s success the past few years - I was also lucky to have coached with such an awesome coach prior to taking over the program,” said Polytech Head Coach Kristy Vodvarka. “I would like to continue to instill a sense of pride in the program - the traditions of the program that have been set are ones I would like to continue to implement.”
After the break, both CR and Polytech have eight games remaining against the Henlopen Conference.
Caesar Rodney will play three of those games against divisional opponents Sussex Central, Polytech and Smyrna. Meanwhile, Polytech five of their eight remaining conference games against the division, taking on CR, Cape Henlopen, Smyrna, Sussex Central and Sussex Tech.
While CR and Polytech battle it out in the Henlopen North, Lake Forest prepares for the stretch run in the Henlopen South.
Lake Forest heads into the spring break coming off a big win over defending state champion Caravel Academy over the weekend, 14-4.
The Lady Spartans have shown some more positive flashes this season led by impressive pitchers Kerrigan Simpson and Katie Stahre, along with Brooke Glanden, Mya Maddox, Britney Baker and Grace Aguilar.
Having played just seven games, the Lady Spartans have more than half of their schedule remaining, plenty of time to improve and hunt down division leader Delmar.
After last season’s deep tournament run, Lake hopes to take full advantage of their remaining 10 games, eight of which come against the Henlopen Conference.
“Every year, the team has a goal to be better than last year and leave everything on the field each game,” said Lake Forest Head Coach Ashlie Tatman. “The coaches push the girls to be one percent better everyday and focus on the team.”