The spring GCHSAA softball season here in Brooklyn and Queens is always chock full of intense rivalries on the diamond.
But this summer, a few of those rivals played together as teammates on the Queens Lady Rangers 16U team.
The Lady Rangers are a fast-pitch softball program that traveled all over New York and New Jersey for a series of weekend tournaments this summer.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” said Nicole Schweit, rising junior pitcher at St. John’s Prep, Astoria. “Obviously there are times when I would have wanted to be at the beach, but it’s just fun to be with the girls and win games and go to tournaments.”
The team is comprised of members from local Catholic high school softball programs that normally compete against each other in the spring.
“We always joke about who’s winning the next season and who’s going to start,” said Megan Minihane, rising senior third baseman for The Mary Louis Academy, Jamaica Estates. “It’s so much fun though.”
The Lady Rangers are part of a nonprofit group known as G.O.A.L.S. – the Girls Organization of Athletics Leaders in Sports. Founded in 2009 by former Mary Louis softball coach Ginny Peiser, the organization is dedicated to the advancement of fast-pitch softball at all levels and develops leaders by emphasizing the importance of an education.
“The hard work they’re doing in school translates onto the field and vice versa,” said Peiser, who also founded the softball program at St. John’s University, Jamaica. “And now, the sky’s the limit for them.”
“Coach Gin (Peiser) really cares about these girls,” said Christina Montez, head coach of the 16U team. “She’s really pushing them to better themselves with education, and then softball comes second.”
Many of the past players in Peiser’s program have gone on to continue their softball careers in college, and the current team members hope to follow in their footsteps.
“Playing for the past four years here I think made me into a good softball player that could get into good colleges if I keep working hard at it,” said Kathleen Kenny, rising junior catcher at Archbishop Molloy H.S., Briarwood.
“I’ve developed so much as a softball player, and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with any other organization,” said Daniella Colletti, rising junior outfielder for St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows.
The official high school softball season doesn’t start for another eight months, but spending this summer as Lady Rangers will give these players the competitive edge they’ll need next spring.