TERRYVILLE - Every time the Terryville softball team walks up the hill to reach its home field, the Kangaroos are reminded that a state championship has been won before at the school.
Terryville has the 2010 state championship banner hanging on its home plate backstop. That year the Kangaroos won the Class S title with a win over St. Bernard.
For the seven seniors on the Kangaroos’ roster this year - Martina Trovato, Amy Ieronimo, Maria Cesare, Jessica Dupont, Maisie Festa, Courtney Johnpiere and Dominique Picard - knowing it’s been done before has been added inspiration to get back into the postseason, which they accomplished with a victory over Litchfield on Friday night.
“It helps motivate us a lot,” first baseman Trovato said. “I know the people that won the state championship and they still talk about it to this day, so I just want to at least be able to say we were in the playoffs and fighting to be in [the state championship].”
While the school has won a state title, the 2010 team’s regular season results are far from comparable to this year’s.
In 2010 Terryville went 18-2 and this season’s team was just on the brink of making the playoffs entering last night’s late game.
Head coach Stephanie Fuller, an assistant coach with the 2010 team, is aware of what it takes to win a championship. Fuller wants to use the 2010 team as an example, but she doesn’t compare the talent level. Rather, she wants her team to have a similar mindset.
“We talk a lot about when that happened and what it was like and what that team did to get to that point,” Fuller said. “So hopefully one day we can try to get back there. That’s the goal.”
Even with a tournament bid this season, Terryville would face one of the top-ranked Class S teams in the opening round, making it tough to pick up a win.
Still, for the senior class, reaching the postseason would be a representation of a team that’s made steady improvement over their four years at the school.
“That would be the furthest we’ve ever gone,” Trovato said. “Even if we lose [in the tournament] it would be considered a successful season.”
During the freshman season of this year’s seniors, Terryville won four games; in their sophomore season the Kangaroos won five games; and last year they just missed the tournament as juniors, with seven wins, and were in a similar situation to this season, needing to win one of their last two games. This season, the seniors have more at stake.
“I’m using the fact that we can almost get into the tournament to keep me going. That’s been my dream to be able to play in at least one state game,” catcher Ieronimo said. “And what better year to do that than in our senior year.”
“It would mean a lot to us if we got into the tournament,” Trovato said. “We’ve been working towards this for four years.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org