Senior softball player finishes last inning


Photo credit Clyde Click

Senior Andi Carrandi, after 15 years playing softball, will step up to bat for the last time this fall season.

“It’s been weird going from the youngest to the oldest,” said Carrandi, who is the only senior on the varsity softball team. “I still feel like a kid and I’m supposed to be the one that everyone looks up to, so that’s weird.”

Carrandi began pursuing softball when she was very young because her mom had played all her life.

“I started a DHYS, playing T-Ball when I was 3, the youngest you could play,” said Carrandi. “It was mixed gender until I was 7, I think? Then, I started playing rookies at NYO. It was the big leagues there. I started pitching when I was 9 in minors, then when I was 11 I went to majors, then 13 was seniors.”

Around this time was when Brent McGuire, head coach of the varsity softball team, started to watch her play.

“He used to sneak into NYO games,” said Carrandi, “just so he could see how I looked and how he could use me down the road.”

McGuire was very impressed with what he saw.

“I got so excited when I was watching her as a 6th grader knowing the fact that she was going to be a big-time softball player at Westminster, and that has certainly held through,” said McGuire. “She has started every ball game since the 9th grade and is one of our key leaders on the team.”

In her freshman year, Carrandi played at third base. The coaches were very happy with her, and since then she has been their shortstop and one of their mainstay pitchers.

“She leads us in many offensive categories with her hitting statistics – her hits for power, for contact, her average right now is above 400, which is outstanding,” said McGuire. “In the pitching department she is one of our top pitchers. She and Emily Bassett, a junior on the team, share the pitching role. They’re both just fantastic pitchers that we have and we depend on Andi’s experience and leadership and she does a great job with it.”

Carrandi says that she likes being both shortstop and pitcher because they are both very involved.

“As a pitcher, you get the ball every single inning. You control the game and the pace, which is cool, and I really like the pressure,” said Carrandi. “Short-stop is exciting because a lot of the balls come there, and you get to dive a lot and make cool plays. I also love when the other team steals. I like digging the ball when the catcher throws it down.”

Carrandi says that there are both advantages and downsides to being the lone senior.

“I thought that it would be hard [to be the only senior on the team], not being able to be with my friends and stuff, but it’s a cool thing,” said Carrandi. “I’m super close with Emma Scott and Cabell Zakas, and we have gotten closer and closer as the season goes on.”

Despite bonding with friends, Carrandi says it is difficult being the only one experiencing everything for the last time.

“No one else really understands how bittersweet everything is,” said Carrandi. “They get to do this all over again, and if I mess up, then I don’t get a redo. So it’s weird not being able to share that experience with someone else, but being the only senior is honestly kind of fun.”

Emma Scott, a junior on the team, says she is equally unhappy that this is Carrandi’s last year.

“Andi and I have now spent 3 years together through softball and this year has been the best by far,” said Scott. “We have all gotten to know each other on a deeper level and I will definitely be sad to see her go but I know she’s doing to do great things in college!”

This year the team has become very close, with both each other and their coaches. The softball team includes people from different grades and friend groups, all with one thing in common: softball.

“I know that I have become extremely close with people I might not have ever known if it wasn’t for softball and I am extremely grateful for that!” said Scott. “We were also blessed with a good group of girls that are all extremely talented and well rounded.”

The abundance of encouragement and friendship on the team, from both the coaches and team members, makes a great atmosphere for varsity softball at Westminster.

“We all like each other and we get along really well, and I know it’s super cliché, but it makes the season so much more fun when you get to share it with people who you genuinely like,” said Carrandi. “It’s also cool to see how much support the people on the team give, like when you’re up to bat, you’re going to hear distinct voices coming from the dugout. You’re never going to feel like no one has your back on this team. Everyone believes in each other which is really cool.”

There are 16 players on the varsity softball team: Emily Bassett, Mary Bryce Brannen, Andi Carrandi, Alex Clark, Claire Cotton, Katharine deGolian, Meredith Ficery, Allison Greenberg, Caroline McCutchen, Hannah Moss, Ria Parikh, Emma Scott, Maya Sinha, Evelyn Stafford, Grace Weston, Cabell Zakas. Other than Carrandi, the softball team has other stand out players. Due to the scarcity of seniors, juniors on the team are getting opportunities to shine.

“Emily Bassett – an outstanding pitcher for us – and Andi are both captains of the team, and they do a great job of being our leaders,” said McGuire. “Emma Scott has played outstanding defense at 3rd base for us. This is her first year being a starter. Also we’re getting good productivity out of Cabell Zakas, who is playing first base and center field for us. Cabell is a three-year starter in our program and has really been a pleasant surprise for us as a batter this year.”

This season, sophomores have also had a chance to step up.

“Allison Greenberg, a sophomore catcher for us, is just a warrior behind the plate,” said McGuire. “She’s one of the best catchers in the region by far, also a leading hitter on our team, and just does a great job of catching our pitchers. Claire Cotton, another sophomore for us has had an outstanding first half of the season. She is playing short stop and second base for us and is also hitting above 400 with her batting average.”

Freshman Evelyn Stafford has also made an impact on the team playing center field, even though this is her first year on varsity. With a team with so many great players, they hope to fair well in the state playoffs after the regional championships.

“I’m just really pleased with the direction in which we’re going,” said McGuire. “We have a lot of good softball ahead of us and we certainly do have high expectations for us to continue to perform really well for the remainder of the season.”

Carrandi believes the team has a lot of potential despite being young, and she hopes to finish off her career in softball successfully.

“Obviously the age comes with inconsistency, but if we are focused and completely driven for a game, then I think that we can actually go further than a Westminster team has ever gone,” said Carrandi. “That would be really cool to be a part of in my last year.”

Carrandi is a three sport athlete at Westminster. At the end of her senior year she will be a 12-letter recipient. In terms of her future in sports, she is somewhat undecided.

“College right now is a huge question mark for me,” said Carrandi.  “I’m not sure where exactly I want to go and whether or not I’m going to play a sport or not. If I were to play a sport though, it would be basketball. I’m definitely not playing college softball. 14 years of it has made it a little repetitive. Softball has just been what I’ve played for the longest, so it’ll always be kind of special. It’s so weird knowing that it’s my last year ever playing the sport seriously.”

Carrandi’s teammates and coaches will miss her hard work and dedication to the sport, and she will miss them as well.

“I also love the program at Westminster and the coaches,” said Carrandi, “so it’s sad that I only have about a month and a half left with them at all.”