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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • A New Team on the U16 Softball Scene

  • The Northeast Blizzard is comprised of players from Wayne and Pike Counties.
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  • A new team has sprung up on the 16U girls'sSoftball stage.
    Comprised mostly of young ladies that have come up through the Wallenpaupack Area ranks, the Northeast Blizzard is hoping to take regional tournament play by storm.
    Good Chemistry
    Honesdale's Sabrina Wood, who occupies the hot corner for the Blizzard joined up with the Hawley based team this season looking for fun and a way to improve her skills as well.
    "I played in some other travel leagues for Honesdale teams other years but decided to try things with a new team this year," she said.
    Sarah Witte offers another perspective.
    "Most of us have been playing together on other travel teams for a few years," the young catcher said.
    "In order to stay together we formed a new team so we could compete in the same age group."
    Witte usually finds herself behind the plate when her good friend, pitcher Katie Schoenagel steps into the circle.
    "It's good to be on a team with girls from other schools," Shoenagel told.
    "There's some fun rivalry and it gives you an opportunity to learn about other players' strengths and weaknesses and how to play off that during the school seasons, but they also learn about your strengths and weaknesses too."
    The girls also noted that there are fellow Buckhorns and Hornets playing on other teams in the travel league, so a similar situation presents itself in the summer season as well.
    Unanimously, the trio admits they like to see their classmates on opposing teams do well during the tournaments, but not too well.
    On the Agenda
    Page 2 of 3 - Slated for five, two-day tournaments, the girls expect to play about 35 games before the end of July.
    It's a short season and every tournament is different. The team already ventured to Dunmore and heads to Matamoras next week.
    In July they will be trekking to Drifton and Drums as well as Horseheads, NY.
    "The first tournament was an eye opener," said Coach John Witte. "We didn't do as well as we had hoped for, but we had some bright spots too."
    The college showcase tournament allowed the girls to get exposed to some scouts for local schools such as Marywood, Misericordia, Scranton, and Lackawanna.
    "Our girls were competitive and aggressive at the plate," Witte said. "But, we need to get better choosing the right play for the right situation.
    "The teams we were playing against have been together for three to five years and have had more experience working together and communicating with each other. It's something for us to work on."
    First Win
    The Blizzard took their first game on Saturday by defeating the Impact Panthers, another NEPA based team, 11-5.
    The remainder of the day didn't go so well and they dropped their second game 8-6 versus the Wyoming Valley Flames, and then closed the day by taking a 6-5 hit from the Lady Monsters out of New York state.
    They couldn't douse the Flames on Sunday either and were handed a 9-1defeat by the ladies from The Valley.
    Things weren't all bad for the Blizzard. Kennedy Thomas, Katie Shoenagel, and Sarah Witte were named MVPs in their game vs the Panthers and Coach Witte feels that they discovered a lot of good things to build upon.
    "I think the girls experienced some butterflies and had the jitters," he stated.
    Page 3 of 3 - "We have some things to work on for next week in Matamoras and then some time before the tournament in Drifton. I'm sure things will start to come together soon."

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