Since last fall, the Riverhead High School girls softball team had been practicing in unofficial workouts at a local school.
But it wasn’t until Monday that the Blue Waves were able to train in the great outdoors. The weather wasn’t perfect, but temperatures were in the 40s and it wasn’t raining or snowing. The Blue Waves did some running, stretching, throwing and catching fly balls.
Coach Bob Fox did not want to push the team during the two-and-a-half-hour session.
“The first day of practice I don’t want to keep the girls out there and pull a muscle,” he said. “The ground is a little rough.”
With a storm forecast for the east end of Long Island yesterday through tomorrow, any time outdoors can be considered a treat.
Fox, who will enter his 13th season as the Blue Waves coach, was just happy getting his team together in an outdoor setting.
“It’s great to see all the girls concentrating on softball and not other sports,” he said.
Riverhead’s softball players, who participate in travel leagues during the summer, also play volleyball and basketball during the winter season.
“The majority of the girls on my team are two-sport athletes,” Fox said. “It takes a lot of time and commitment to do that.”
Fox has liked what he has seen from his team, which includes nine returning players — five seniors, three juniors and one sophomore.
“We’re looking for four more players,” he said.
Among the key players returning are an All-Conference senior battery in pitcher Amanda Graziano and catcher Megan Weiss. Graziano recently announced she would attend Mercy College this fall, playing softball and field hockey.
Junior Stephanie Falisi is slated to be the No. 2 pitcher and bat third or fourth in the order as an infielder. Other key returnees include senior shortstop Alex McKillop, senior second baseman Sara Tucci and junior outfielder Sarah Freeborn, who is also the backup catcher.
The Blues (10-10 last season) missed the Suffolk County tournament by a game last year.
Fox said he was “very optimistic” entering the season. Riverhead will play seven scrimmages before opening its season against West Babylon at home on March 21.
“I think we have a very good team,” he said. “We should be very competitive no matter who we play.”