Thursday, 28 March 2024 12:51

A New Era for Saratoga Catholic Softball

Players from the Saratoga Central Catholic varsity softball team show off their newly designed uniforms. Photos via the school’s @scc_saints X account. Players from the Saratoga Central Catholic varsity softball team show off their newly designed uniforms. Photos via the school’s @scc_saints X account.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — New uniforms. A new coach. New players. A new team culture. It seems like the Saratoga Central Catholic varsity softball team has hit the refresh button and is prepared to enter its next era.

“We want to try to change the culture until we expect to win,” said Coach Abby Arceneaux. “We’re trying to set expectations that we can compete with anybody.”

This season will be Arceneaux’s first as coach of the Saints, but she’s been developing the team since last summer. During more than a dozen open gyms, Arceneaux worked on the fundamentals with her more inexperienced players. Thanks to these sessions, Arceneaux said her girls already knew what to expect coming into the season. “We were kind of all on the same page right away,” she said.

Saratoga Catholic has six returning players this year. “They’re all very good softball players even though some of them are young,” Arceneaux said. But it was a struggle to fill in the team’s holes. This year’s roster includes four freshmen with no recent competitive softball experience, as well as an 8th grader and two 7th graders. 

In a meeting at the start of the season, Arceneaux went over all of the team’s games from last year. Arceneaux said she wanted to change the team’s mindset to believe they can compete with anybody. “These girls, we’ve heard them say, ‘Oh God, that team is so good.’ And we’re like, so should we not show up? You want me to take that day off?” 

Arceneaux has been drilling the message into her team that they have what it takes to win. It seems that strategy is paying off. Arceneaux said morale is high, and she hasn’t “noticed any kind of negativity.”

Unfortunately, the team did suffer one setback. During a batting practice, Arceneaux tore her Achilles. Thankfully, she had an experienced veteran on her coaching bench ready to help out: her dad, John. Arceneaux said she was lucky to have her father’s support. “There’s no better coach in this area that can develop kids and knows the game, in my opinion,” she said. 

The Saints will also undoubtedly have help from Ryan McDonald, their standout senior catcher who hit over .450 last year. “She’s 100% the leader of our team,” Arceneaux said. “She’s a player to watch. I don’t know how she’s flown under the radar so much because she’s impressive.”

Fans can get their first look at the revamped, McDonald-led team when the Saints kick off the season on Monday, April at 1 p.m. against Tamarac High School.

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