MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Nicole Pineda was overly excited in anticipation of the first day of Rye Neck varsity softball practice Monday.
Once the temperature reached the low 70s under a bright sun, Pineda and her teammates could not wait to get outside. Rye Neck opened practice under the guidance of veteran Rye Neck coach Joan Spedafino, her husband, assistant coach Frank Spedafino, and son, assistant coach Rob Spedafino.
Marisa (Bella), Jessica (Calvini) and I have a lot of classes together and we kept thinking that at 2:45, practice would begin and that got us excited, said Pineda of her fellow seniors.
The Spedafino coaching triumvirate took full advantage of the beautiful weather and excellent field conditions by putting the team through hitting, fielding and running drills.
Weve been going to open gym for the last two months and everybody has been working hard, Pineda said. Everyone was really excited to get started again today. We are hoping to make it back and win it this year.
Rye Neck has every right to be excited. Pineda, Bella and Calvini are among seven seniors on the team, along with Kristin Tamucci, Lauren Bradley, Elle Zapata and Brittany Brescia. This senior class has been to three consecutive Section 1 Class B finals. The seniors will be instrumental, once again, in leading Rye Neck to another successful season. Add in the underclassmen and Pineda liked what she saw on day one.
I like how everyone is versatile, said the five-year varsity player. To know that we can put different people in different positions is going to help us. We have a lot of younger players who have a lot of potential and they have the potential to start.
Rye Neck will be a prime contender for the title based on its season class, especially with Calvini in the circle. The pitcher has been starting since eighth grade and has been friends with Pineda since they were toddlers.
Jessica is amazing, Pineda said. Jessica and I have been playing together since forever and we were in pre-school together.
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