The high school spring sports season begins competition on Saturday and the excitement level is very high after last season was canceled.
"I can't even put it into words because overall we just didn't expect to lose a season and the fact that we get this full season with so many games and get to play with the girls and everything again, getting to chance to go back at it for another ring, I'm excited," said Southington senior pitcher Julia Panarella.
The Blue Knights are the defending Class LL softball state champions, winning their 18th title in program history in 2019. The roster is a little different heading into this season with the sophomores from 2019 now seniors in 2021.
"One thing that the seniors, all of us, are really trying to do is make sure that everyone feels together because we went from being underclassmen, you know the kids that get the buckets and tees to telling them to get the buckets and tees," Southington senior Nicole Greco said with a smile. "It's a little bit of a change but we're all working together as a senior class to make sure everyone feels included."
"I've seen a lot of maturity," said Southington softball head coach Davina Hernandez. "I think this whole pandemic has brought out the best in a lot of these kids and a lot of them have just had to grow up really quickly."
Southington starts the season on Saturday against Windsor with first pitch set for 1 p.m. It's a day the Blue Knights have been waiting for a long time.
"We're just really excited to be out there," said Hernandez. "We have some really solid opponents on our schedule this year, some really great pitching in the state, which is great. I think the level of competition is rising in Connecticut year after year."