The evolution of softball from the late 1800’s to now has shown in the success of the River’s softball team.
Softball, a sport that started off small, is now played internationally, including at the River.
According to Softball New Zealand, the sport was originally played just by men and did not become popular with women until the formation of the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) in 1933. The sport was initially advertised as an indoor game for baseball players to maintain their skills during the off-season. The sport gained so much recognition that it quickly became its own sport.
“The biggest difference from high school softball when I played is that the pitcher’s mound used to be only 40 feet away,” the River’s Head Varsity Softball Coach Melissa Dowling said. “Now, the mound is 43 feet away. That is the same distance that it is in college.”
The softball team holds the most district championships of any other sport on campus at the River. In Dowling’s first year of being the head coach, the Lady Pirates softball team made the program’s second appearance in the state tournament by coming in 3rd place. The River’s softball team has won the past four championships and a regional championship back in 2016.
“Some of my biggest accomplishments are being able to help people learn more about the game and also being able to help my team,” sophomore Lilly Piper said.
According to Dowling, one of the most successful athletes to graduate from the River is Courtney Mirabella who was a part of the softball team. When she graduated in 2013, her jersey number at the River was retired; this is considered an honor.
The River’s softball team works hard for themselves and their team, constantly striving each and every game and practice.
“It’s changed by having to learn more/new strategies and just learning new things,” freshman Sofia Tracy said.