Warning Track Heat exceeded goals in 2010
Although I did have a post on the Warning Track Heat earlier this week, I was finally able to catch up with the team's head coach, Wayne Carter, for a story that will appear in The Record on Thursday, August 5. Coach Carter did not want to focus on any of the players individually, saying that it was a "total team effort." A team roster is pasted in below.
STILLWATER -- The players on the Warning Track Heat 14-and-under travel softball team got together for a few tournament games in the fall of 2009 and they set a lofty goal for the summer of 2010: claim a top three finish in the Eastern National Championship tournament.
After winning two tournaments in the fall, the players continued to gather for weekly practices at All Stars Academy in Latham and a monthly workout at Union College, central meeting places for players that came from hometowns from Schuylerville to Taconic Hills.
In the spring, the team got together on the weekends after having played or practiced five days a week with the varsity or junior varsity teams at their respective high schools.
"We had practices in the winter and the early spring and to be honest, some of the girls were softballed out," said Warning Track Heat head coach Wayne Carter. "We got together to practice on a Saturday or a Sunday after the girls had played four or five games with their high school teams during the week. I didn’t want to push them too much, but I asked them, ‘Do you want to finish in the top 3?"
The players buckled down and stayed true to their goal, going the extra mile to take swings in the batting cage and work on their defense.
When the summer season came around on June 4, the team was ready. Warning Track Heat finished in first or second place in seven of the nine tour¬naments in which it entered, including a berth in the American Softball Association’s 14-and-under Class B Eastern National Championship in York, Pa., which began on July 28.
Warning Track Heat won all seven games it played in the tournament, defeating the Northern Nightmare (LaFargeville, N.Y.) 9-0 in the champi¬onship game. Not only did the team exceed its preseason expectations, it became the first squad from New York State to ever win the Eastern National Championship tournament title.
Warning Track Heat finished the sum¬mer season with a 47-7-2 record.
Five other local teams – Bethlehem Tomboys Blaze (Delmar), East Greenbush Express, Lansingburgh Lady Royals, Miss Scotties (Ballston Spa) and the Waterford Wicked - also qualified for and participated in the tournament.
What makes the tournament title all the more meaningful for Carter was the fact that his 11 players came from nine different high schools. Although the team has limited practice time together, the players still developed a strong chemistry with one another.
"On the Fourth of July, we played in a tournament in South Glens Falls and one of the parents in Schuylerville invited everyone down for a barbecue and a sleepover," Carter said of one of the team’s rare get-togethers outside of a tournament setting. "And at tournaments on the road, we always try to eat out together as a team."
Carter would love to keep the team together for as long as possible and pursue more tournament championships over the next few years, but he’s aware that there are other organizations and obligations that may cause some of the girls to defect.
While the goal of winning games was a major focus for the team in 2010, that too will change as the players near their junior and senior years in school and begin to ponder their options for higher education.
"You want to get the girls the proper exposure and have them be seen by college coaches," Carter said. "A lot of the girls that we have are from middle income households, so if they could get anything for college I’d be ecstatic. A few dollars would be great. That’s a huge reward."
Warning Track Heat roster
Rachel Baker, Schuylerville
Alyssa Carter, Stillwater
Kayla Doty, Chatham
Heather Dugan, Maple Hill
Danielle McOmber, Cohoes
Jackie O’Brien, Niskayuna
Jordan Podkladek, Schuylerville
Jackie Rossi, Shaker
Morgan Rumpf, Saratoga Springs
Hannah Sears, Taconic Hills
Michaela Smith, Chatham
Head Coach, Wayne Carter
Coach, Mike O’Brien
Coach, Mike Podkladek
Coach, Gary Sears
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