The Parks and Rec Jhawk Softball Sluggers team knows how to turn it all around. After a rocky start the team has taken up the cause of self-improvement. The sting of their season opener loss forced them to work harder for their victories and a 2-1 current season record.
Mike Mattan, Sluggers head coach, said the team has come around from the start with a lot of hard work and practice.
"Hitting has been our main concern," Mattan said. "We had one player who had not gotten a hit, whose father helped her practice by hitting golf balls with the bat. Something must have worked because she had a hit tonight and scored a run."
On June 12 the Sluggers weren't hitting golf balls, but they were hitting the ball hard at Youth Sports Inc. The team played the Black team in a late evening match-up. After a rocky first inning, the Sluggers took home the victory, 8-7.
"We had some errors in the first inning," Mattan said. "After that inning I talked to the team in the dugout and said 'every team has one bad inning, this was ours and we can't have anymore.'"
Mattan's pep talk helped as the Sluggers came back for the second inning ready to shine. Kimberly Messineo smacked the ball sending in far out into the left outfield. The hit scored her a triple and then a trip through home plate along with London Koehn. Morgan Mattan also socked away a base run hit for the team. Mattan said she had been working extra hard during practices and in her free time to get a better feel for the ball.
"My favorite part was batting in this game," Morgan Mattan said. "I've been working on base running and hitting the ball to improve."
The Sluggers were not the only ones to show marked improvement though. After the Sluggers struck out all but one of the team's batters in the second inning, the Black team came back stronger. The team had its fair share of hits, including a solid triple at the bottom of the third inning. In the bottom of the fourth the team bagged three runs in five minutes.
Unfortunately for the Black team, the Sluggers scored two runs at the top of the fifth and then went on to strike out Black team batters for the victory, 8-7.
Mattan said he felt like the win was long overdue for the team.
"I feel ecstatic about this game," Mattan said. "We have worked hard in our practices, we have even had extra practices. I feel like we are finally coming around and the girls are finally starting to understand."
The Sluggers have five more games left and both Mattans said it is their goal to win all five of them. Morgan Mattan said she likes playing softball so much that she is itching to hit the pitching mound for a different playing experience.
The rest of the season can only predict how much of an effect the Sluggers' hard work will have.