SUNNYSIDE — This year Sunnyside will be adding a new program to their list of fall sports. Girls slow-pitch softball will start September 19, against Grandview.
New coach Alexandra Barazza is very excited to start coaching, “For me as a coach I’m more excited to be part of the community.”
The Texas native described her experience at the JV coaching role as rewarding and is ready for the position shift, “It seemed like a logical move,” said Barazza.
She has been playing softball since she was 10, and continued to play co-ed in college. She expressed her focus is on Sunnyside’s culture and building community knowledge. Barazza noted she is “. . . eager to build even stronger relationships with our student athletes this year.”
The main goal for this program is to supplement softball players and newcomers during the offseason.
Scott Paine, the district’s Athletic Director, commented that initially it was a worry that the program may not get approved; school budgets are not expanding but constricting.
“Fall is already saturated with ‘girl heavy,’” sports, Paine added. Helping the program get established is the similarities in the playing field set up. It is the same and overall equipment is the same as the fast pitch game.
Barazza is hopeful the setup familiarity will lure newcomers who would otherwise be intimidated, into joining.
Paine and Barazza both commented that without the efforts of a group of girls, this program wouldn’t have happened.
Mya Martinez is a softball player, was on the forefront of getting the sport approved. She started collecting signatures and getting the Title IX sport approved by the board and district.
The style of slow-pitch play is intensified due to the increased number of hits.
The pitching is different and takes less of a learning curve to learn; this allows more developed skills for fastpitch. This makes the defensive role for outfielders imperative and more engaged.
Martinez spoke how this type of program is good for those who might feel too intimidated to try fast pitch. She expressed the program will allow more girls to give the sport a shot. She also discussed how travel teams and personal coaching can be costly and unavailable to high schoolers. Slow pitch the gives opportunity for girls to commit time and resources towards developing their skills in the offseason.
Slow-pitch was a bigger focus during the early 1990s to 2000’s.
Sunnyside and Eastmont are late adopters as other schools have already embraced the program.
The Columbia Basin Big 9 athletic conference has XXX schools involved with the program. The grizzlies will face off against 10 different teams this season, five will be at home.
Barraza is hoping to connect more to students and be able to make a bigger community impact all together. She teaches math (Algebra 1, Geometry, and AVID). Her intention is to get as many girls as possible and develop the, “know of the game,” she expressed.