River Dell Varsity Girls Softball Team is firing on all cylinders


The River Dell Golden Hawks Varsity Girls' Softball Team(3-3, 1-1 Big North Patriot) has been firing on all cylinders lately in the 2024 season. After back-to-back losses early on to Ramsey and Glen Rock, the Golden Hawks have won two out of their last three games and outscored opponents 34-9.

"It's all starting to come together and starts with the captain Helena Marcus and Kasey Ziegler," River Dell Head Coach Brian Calabrese explained. "Helena being at the top of the lineup and last two or three games she started with extra base hits and just getting us fired up and moving." "Kasey plays three sports and doesn't have the time to work like some of these other girls do on softball alone, but she has the one attribute that you don't see with many and is the will to compete." "She's finally getting it and at the plate as a one-on-one battle."

"Maddie Roth is up second and has matured and gotten better and put the work in." "You got the younger girls then Norah Cerna and Val Visconti and those two have matured and huge assets in the field and lineup." "This could be my best hitting lineup."

"I felt we had enough to compete, but it's going to fall on the pitching. I'm ecstatic about where we could go, how big we want it, and how well we pitch because I know we can hit and play defense." "We made some changes. It's a long season, and if we keep everyone healthy, we can really do some damage in the county and state."

River Dell is coming off a solid 2023 season, during which the team registered a 17-10 record, including a seven-game winning streak. The team is fielding an experienced squad with 11 seniors.

The Golden Hawks return several players from last season in sophomore Maddie Roth, senior Helena Marcus, sophomore Kasey Ziegler, sophomore Noah Cerna, senior Olivia Hanna, and sophomore Valerie Visconti, who contributed immensely and are off to terrific starts this year. Roth leads the team in RBIs with nine and two home runs, and second baseman Marcus tallies 13 hits and nine runs scored.

"Helena is usually starting at the top of the lineup, and when she gets on, I just get up and try my best to get the ball in play and move her over or home," Maddie Roth described. It's a very good feeling, putting all your work and training in all the time and getting that success on the field is amazing." "My parents are proud, and I want to keep working to get to that next level, and I still have two years left."

"I can tell the difference from my freshman year to now; it's the batting and little techniques I didn't see as a freshman." "I play year-round and get the work in because this is such a mental game, and you're always going to need someone to talk to about this game because it's hard when you get into slumps."

"You know you can get out of it, know your potential, and just need your confidence." "Just having a catch with my Dad or hitting in the backyard with a net." "It's not going into the gym for two hours, but the little things that matter, and just what you need to have that confidence where you want to go in life. Get to that point, and things start to fall in place."

"I was always playing everywhere and definitely wanted to be more active in the game." "I felt the outfield wasn't for me then tried to play short but felt there was a lot of room to cover so I started catching but felt it wasn't the right fit so I started to become a third baseman and loved it and whenever I got the ball felt very comfortable as in other positions, I might have been more stressed."

"Just having the ability to put on a varsity jersey, starting almost every game at the third base slot, and having a spot in the lineup is that I made it. This is where I want to be, fitting in, and everyone accepting me." "Showing what I can do is awesome, and putting on that same jersey is an amazing feeling."

"Softball is a team sport, and everyone has each other's back and I'm happy to see the freshmen stepping up and coming into this environment and playing to their potential on the varsity level." "Sophia(Tortorella) playing in centerfield and hitting the home run against North Bergen and just hypes up the team." "Seeing Julia(Marcus) progressively getting better and her sister(Helena) being there for her and helping throughout the season."

"We have Olivia Hanna who does an amazing job in the outfield then Norah Cerna who used to play shortstop and now as a first baseman which is new and doing very well and at the plate."

River Dell faces a daunting schedule this upcoming week, with five games in six days. However, three out of five are at home. "Indian Hills is extremely talented and well-coached. Then you have Westwood and go to Northern Highlands, which is a very well-coached team and has one of the best pitchers in the county, and Dumont, so this will be a test, and if we get a couple of these, we're going to be in business," Head Coach Brian Calabrese noted.

Maddie Roth on the leadership from Head Coach Brian Calabrese and playing home games, "It's really cool having a coach that knows and loves the game and always wanting to be there to make us feel better, showing up early and giving us options such as the ability to hit off the machines before games and doing so much for us to succeed as a team." "He sees the potential in us, helps us out when we're stressed and knows when to calm us down and understanding."

"Just walking down that path and looking at our field and soaking all that stuff in makes me happy." "Seeing how much our school does for us and the grounds crew taking the tarps off and getting the lines ready for the games and parents coming and filling the grass with a bunch of chairs." Everyone coming out to watch our games." "Denis Nelson is always posting and sending emails about how we're doing. It is amazing; everyone is so connected and there for us."

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