More important than their overall performance record is the way in which the Newton High School softball team competed this past season.
The Braves played with honor, pride, a sense of teamwork and respect for the game, as well as their opponents, at all times this spring.
The results were at times quite positive for Newton, with seven hard-earned victories this year.
Paul Filan, Newton’s head coach, recalled one contest in particular he considered an impressive achievement for his squad on the field this year.
“The contest that stands out to me was our first game against High Point this year,” Filan said. “We were down four to five runs late in the game and the girls still believed we had a chance. They fought all the way back to take the lead and eventually win the game [by a score of 8-6].”
Several student athletes emerged as leaders for the Braves this year and their contributions were certainly noticed by the coaching staff.
“My senior leadership was very good,” Filan said. “Seniors Carly Mayhood, Meghan Karr, Aubery Carroll and Maddie Freda all provided tremendous leadership. Senior Meghan Karr stood out the most. She was a great leader that took the younger girls under her wing and gave them advice and someone to listen to.”
A member of the Class of 2024 was among the players on the roster who demonstrated significant improvements from the start of practice right through to the last game of the post season.
“Sophomore Catherine Vena really impressed me throughout the season,” Filan said. “She has worked very hard over the last year to continue to improve her offensive and defensive game. This was a young girl that played a varsity sport in the winter but continued in her free time to go and work on her catching skills whenever she got the chance.”
The Braves advanced to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1 Group 2 Tournament this season, where they lost a close game to Lakeland. But they are looking forward to a bright future in 2023 and beyond.
“We bring back nine varsity letter winners that have gained a lot of experience this past year,” Filan said. “I hope the ups and downs of this season have motivated them to put in the work to improve on their game.”