EHHS Softball team returns for an amazing 2022 season with lofty goals, this year’s team consists of 16 players led by the Senior Captains; Emilee Bishop, Jilien “Jill” Ayala, and Magdalena “Lena” Barthel.
This will be Coach Ed Crisafi’s 28th year of coaching. He has lofty goals for this season and is confident when he says this season will be excellent. It seems that coaching runs in the Crisafi household. Similar to Crisafi, his father coached football, basketball, and baseball back in the ‘50s through ‘60s and now he, his wife, and kids are all coaches. Mr. Crisafi has coached boys basketball at EHHS for 7 years, at North Haven for 15 years, and was an assistant coach for 10 years at EHHS. Crisafi now coaches the softball team alongside his assistant coaches Jeff Crisafi (his son), Jenna Gaudioso, Talia Loda, and EHHS Math Teacher Erika D’Amore.
Coach Crisafi, along with his five assistant coaches, are preparing the team for the season through a lot of practice and hard work. The team’s first practice was on March 19, 2022. They practice every day except Saturdays, at the EHHS Softball field or at The Pit, a recreational facility on Maple Street in Foxon, if weather conditions are bad and the home field is unsafe. Practice usually starts at 3:30 pm and goes until 5:30 pm. The Coach describes a typical practice as a combination of offense and defense, a lot of individual work, individual drills, etc. He says, “We try to cater our practices after college teams.” The girls on the team describe practices as fun and enjoyable but require hard work and dedication. Practice is always keeping them moving and working on getting better. The team doesn’t have practice on the day of a game, but each player has their own routine for getting ready. Most of the girls like listening to music to get them pumped for a game. Freshmen, Alexa “Lexi '' Heaphy and Gianna Santoro need their hair braided, Jilien Ayala says she hits off of live pitching, and Lena Barthel stretches and warms up.
According to Coach Crisafi, a successful season for him means qualifying for the SCC Tournament, State Tournament, and going far in the tournament. For this season Crisafi says, “I wish not just to go far in the SCC Tournament, but to win both tournaments.” Similar to their coach, the girls also have big things they want to accomplish this year. Their biggest goal is making All-State and SCC, Alexa Heaphy and Autumn Clancy wish to have a high batting average. There will certainly be high hopes for the team this season. The softball team had its first game on April 2, 2022, and has been winning games since then. They’ve beaten North Branford 13-1, Chesire (for the first time 8 years) 5-2, and Madison 12-0. Crisafi revealed one of the team's celebration rituals, in which after winning an away game they’ll stop and celebrate with ice cream. He also revealed another team ritual, saying, “For the past 15-20 years, the day before our first game we have a pizza or pasta party at my house.” This season has had a good start so far, now let’s move on to the players.
One of the biggest reasons why the players joined the softball team is because of their love for the sport and because they’ve been playing softball for 10 years or more. The players have a good relationship with each other. They describe their relationships with one another as being supportive of each other, picking each other up, and having a good and close bond overall. The girls said that they do or did play another sport apart from softball. Senior Jilien Ayala said she used to play soccer in order to stay conditioned for softball and says “it is way different” than softball. Freshman Gianna Santoro says something similar about her time on the basketball team. Junior, Autumn Clancy, and Alexa Heaphy are both on the volleyball team and say that both sports are similar because of the teamwork each sport requires. Balancing sports and school can be a difficult thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely impossible. Senior, Magdalena Barthel says “It is a lot but can be done with hard work” with the help of study halls, friends, and peers players find a way to keep up with their schoolwork and enjoy playing softball.
The softball team has some new additions this year, these players decided to join the team because they love the sport and wish to be a part of the team. They were all given a very nice welcome when joining the team, Junior, Callie Capotorto says “everyone was nice” and Sophomore, Miranda Consiglio says “[They] helped me out whenever I needed it. They were also huge supporters and still are.” These players have come up with goals for themselves that they wish to achieve by the end of this season. Freshman Hailey Cooper says “I want to accomplish some good hits and make great plays” and Miranda says, “I want to get better offensively and defensively.” With the help of their teammates, coaches, and hard work they’ll surely achieve these goals.
This 2022 softball season will be Seniors Emilee Bishop, Jilien Ayala, and Lena Barthel’s last season of playing on a high school softball team. Lena plans on playing softball at Clark University and Jill plans on playing for American International College. Jilien’s favorite memory was when the team made it to the 2019 States and she says, “[I’ll miss] all the girls and bonds that we made.” Lena’s favorite memory was the State Championships her freshman year and she says, “[I’ll miss] playing with my friends who I’ve been playing with since I started.”Coach Crisafi says, “All three have come a long way. They’re stars now.” He says Emilee Bishop carried the team all the way to the semi-finals in the State Tournament and pitched magnificently. Lena Barthel has been steady over the past 3 and a half years and Jilien Ayala is very consistent and has good defense and offense. He’s proud of how far each girl has come and hopes they had fun and learned a lot while playing on his team. He hopes that in the future they’ll come back and visit him.