Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
FISKDALE – With only one day of practice outdoors because of the poor field conditions due to a long winter, the Bartlett girls played their first game of the season and despite losing 7-1 to Tantasqua were upbeat afterwards.
The new-look Indians led by first-year coach Ryan Renauld and assistant Jeff Flynn, who took over for Colleen Nasis, are in a rebuilding phase and have a very young squad, so the lack of practice was a definite factor and it didn’t help opening against a solid Tantasqua Warriors team, but the Indians did well despite the loss.
“I’m pleased with what we did today. Yesterday was the first day we had a normal practice outside because of the weather,” said Renauld, who knows a little about winning and building teams, having won over 100 games as Bartlett’s boys soccer coach. “I told the girls that we were going to treat the first game as a scrimmage and I had no idea what to expect and I think they relaxed knowing that.”
It may not seem like much but the effort is a good start even with a couple of shaky innings and five errors against a much bigger school like Tantasqua.
“I think they left today feeling proud about what they accomplished as far as putting the ball in play. The second and third innings we had some errors and I think we sunk our shoulders and hung our heads while those were occurring. Coach Flynn and I spoke to them after the third inning and told them we just need to battle through this. The resiliency that out team showed today was a real bright spot because we played really well the last three innings of the game,” said Renauld.
“We are young and that’s why if the young girls can be as resilient as they demonstrated today and most it is about them not being so hard on themselves, we can do well. It’s an adjustment for them. A lot of them are playing at a level that maybe they shouldn’t be at but they are ready as far as the numbers we have.”
The Indians started eighth grader Lucy Orne on the mound and seventh grader Alena Gatchell at first base along with several other underclassmen, as well as senior shortstop Ashtin Morio and senior catcher Tori Mcintyre. This is a very young and inexperienced team that can only get better.
“We had a lot of bright spots today and I am happy about that,” said Renauld.
The Indians will play at home against Northbridge on Wednesday, April 3, and David Prouty on Friday,April 5.