By Tim Yean, TSM President
(CRANSTON, R.I.) – After a rough season for the Lady Bolts’ softball team last year, it’s all hope and optimism for this year’s team as they look ahead to the 2023 spring sports season.
With the departure of former head coach Yesenia Evaristo in the offseason to become the pitching coach at Rhode Island College, the team will now be coached by Jordan McHale, who looks to turn the ship around and hopefully guide East to wins this year.
“I wanted to continue what [Coach Evaristo] brought to the team. I think they can go really far,” Coach McHale responded when asked why she took on the role as head coach.
The roster count has increased from “eleven to fifteen girls” from last year, to now 20, a major improvement Coach McHale said, adding that they have all worked really hard so far, showing confidence that the team can go far.
Prior to the writing of this article, the Lady Bolts played in their Injury und game on March 26th vs Shea. McHale praised all aspects of the ‘Bolts game from that Sunday, highlighting multiple players, adding that Nevaeah Fatorma had a triple.
Regarding leadership, McHale talked about three returning players from this year, junior captains now seniors, continuing the traditions and values from last year.
“They’ve already started out making sure the girls are on time, doing what they’re supposed to do… continued the values I’ve talked about with Coach ‘Sen, and keeping them alive on the field this year.”
On a final note, she continued to express the amount of work all of her players have put in so far on the new season, using the term “hard-working” to describe her team this season. She says the team has added strength and conditioning workouts as part of the new regiment.
“They’re out there, right now, as we speak, doing strength and conditioning, which is something we’ve added this year, and nobody likes strength and conditioning. There was not one complaint out there, and they’re out there on time and doing it right now.”
Assistant Coach McKenzie Richards and one of the senior captains, Jaylanie Rosado, were also interviewed. Richards began her coaching career at East not too long ago, leading the Lady Bolts Volleyball team to the playoffs in her first year coaching. Rosado was one of the players on that playoff run for the ‘Bolts.
Students around the school may have seen Coach Richards in classrooms as a substitute teacher, coaching, or even both at various times.
“I think I have a soft spot for East, specifically because I went there. I’ve played volleyball there, played softball there, as well as basketball, so it feels like home to me,” Richards said, adding that she wants to be around her student athletes and act as a resource for them, whether it be on the field/court or in the classroom. “I just want to help them give them an experience that I had at East, because it definitely shaped me into the person I am today.”
Coach Richards also talked about practices and the Injury Fund game, saying that the versatility of the team, letting each player feel what position works best for them, plus a week’s worth of practice, is really preparing them for the first game of the season and more.
“The energy’s there, the talent’s there, it’s just putting it all together now.”
Rosado praised the chemistry of the team during practices, saying everyone has been “clicking together” and that there’s been no issues.
After a winless season last year, Rosado is looking forward to winning some games, like the rest of the team, as well as growing her relationships with her teammates.
Rosado has played softball since she was five-years old, and even though she said she’s “always sucked at it”, it’s always clicked with her, and she’s stayed persistent, always looking to improve to become the best possible player she can be.
There is, of course, another major goal for the season; putting Mr. Simone’s dog, Yoshi Simone, out of a job. The canine member of the Simone family was featured prominently on Thunderbolt Sports Media after bad losses during last spring season, with the softball team getting the worst of it.
“I don’t think we have to worry about [Yoshi]. We’re going to come out on top this year,” Coach McHale said.
“Yeah, no, definitely not… we’re going to try our best to not have that happen this year,” Rosado added.
Time will tell if Yoshi Simone will make an appearance in any ‘horrific’ loss social media post this upcoming spring season. Nonetheless, the focus for Lady Bolts softball right now is to have a fun and potentially successful season.
The first game for the squad will be at their home field, the Brayton Avenue Complex, against Davies on Tuesday, April 4th. It is scheduled for a 5pm start.
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