Kelsey Bryant, the 23-year-old first-year softball coach at Greely, isn’t exaggerating when she says, “I have everything I want in life right now.”

She loves her job as a nurse at the Milestone Foundation in Portland, a nonprofit corporation that provides care for chronic substance abusers. And as a former softball player at South Portland High and Curry College in Milton, Mass., she loves coaching.

“As soon as I was too old to play fast-pitch, I knew I wanted to coach,” she said. “I have that desire and passion. I played just two years ago. I know the way the game is played. And I know I can get the girls to play to their potential.”

Bryant, an assistant to Mike Robb last year, got the position just a couple of weeks before pitchers and catchers reported, but the transfer has gone well.

Greely is 2-0, beating Gray-New Gloucester 7-3 and Poland 14-2.

The Rangers return eight players from a playoff team and have some very good incoming youngsters. Bryant said the key is simply teamwork.

“We’re really stressing fundamentals, simple mechanics,” she said. “The girls are all strong mentally and I keep stressing they have to remain that way. If you make a mistake, the most important play is the next one.

“I think we have great potential to have a great year.”

Sophomore pitcher Danielle Cimino struck out 10 against Gray-New Gloucester, also getting a triple, home run and four RBI. In the win over Poland, Greely’s top two hitters, Katie Whittum and Caroline Hamilton, each had four hits.

Bryant’s younger sister, Shelby, plays at McAuley and is one of the SMAA’s best hitters.

 

TRAIP ACADEMY has had a couple of tough seasons, but second-year coach Trevor Hopwood believes the foundation is set for a successful future.

He will rely primarily on two freshmen — Kaley Andrews and Allie Barrett — as his pitcher and catcher.

“It’s important they get as much work as possible to build for the future,” he said.

 

AFTER WATCHING his Kennebunk Rams lose their opener 13-0 to defending Class A champ South Portland on Monday, Jim Lang brought his players together on the wet outfield grass for a lengthy conference. Essentially, he told them, they played well but needed to play better against top competition.

The Rams, with catcher Janelle Bouchard, pitcher Hannah King and shortstop Rachel Magalski, should be one of the better Western Class A teams.

South Portland pounded 16 hits, taking a 10-0 lead in the first three innings. Several of the hits were bounding grounders that were just out of the reach of a fielder.

Lang stressed the importance of stopping big innings by making those plays. The Riots’ defense made every play behind pitcher Alexis Bogdanovich.

“Hopefully we’ll learn from it,” said Lang. “This is where we have to strive to be. As I told the kids that’s the class of the league until someone knocks them off. See how they played defensively, how they move, how they make plays. They were a unit and how they played together. That’s where we have to strive to improve.”

 

FRYEBURG ACADEMY apparently has found a second pitcher to take pressure off senior Charlotte Lewis. Freshman Sarah Harriman started the first two games of the season, victories over Poland and York, striking out 13 in each game. Lewis, who was 15-1 for the Raiders last year, is playing second base but will get back in the rotation soon.

“I kind of knew she would be good,” said Raiders Coach Fred Apt. “I tried to keep her a secret as much as possible.”

While in Connecticut, where the Raiders spend their April vacation, the two threw back-to-back preseason no-hitters.

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]