John King’s answers to questions were carefully measured. Sure, the Shoreham-Wading River High School softball team could be looking at a special season, but the Wildcats assistant coach wasn’t about to get ahead of himself before the team’s first pitch was thrown.
“We know we do have a very good team,” said King, whose father, Bill, is the head coach. “We think we’re capable of doing well, but we’ll see once the season gets going.” READ
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Two friends and former softball players who coached together last season are both now coaching at their respective alma maters, in the same town, less than a mile away from each other.
After one year of coaching at Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School, Jackie Zilnicki has slid over to take over the team at Riverhead High School, where she pitched, played shortstop and centerfield. Meanwhile, Zilnicki’s former assistant coach at Mercy, Rose Horton, takes over the Monarchs, the team she used to pitch for. Both coaches graduated from those schools in 2008.
You might say the Shoreham-Wading River High School softball team is playing with a chip on its shoulder these days.
“I think so,” coach John King said. “They’ve come out every single game trying to do that from the start.”
Reaching the high school softball playoffs may be a long shot for Shoreham-Wading River, but don’t talk to the Wildcats about slim odds. After what happened on Monday, they should know that anything is possible.
Shoreham, which was one out away from defeat, pulled out a thrilling 4-2 comeback victory over rival Rocky Point on Victoria Coman’s tie-breaking, two-run single in the eighth inning.
Melissa Marchese is not a typical high school softball player. Last year she started every game for Shoreham-Wading River as an eighth-grader. Not many eighth-graders play at the varsity level, never mind as starters.
And not many players in any grade have done what Marchese did last Wednesday.
John King makes the move from coaching Shoreham-Wading River’s junior varsity softball team to its varsity team, and yet he is still coaching quite a young team. A young team that can hit and has the ability to do some good things. READ