JJ softball salute to seniors 1

Beating Somers in an out-bracket sectional game in 2019 is one of Jess Leff’s favorite softball moments.

“I am grateful for our team’s dedication, hard work, and leadership; that is what makes this season even more difficult,” John Jay softball coach Steve DelMoro said of his senior class. “The off-season training sessions, the workouts, the extra work — players should not feel that it has gone to waste. It is only building John Jay softball up for a bigger come back when the time comes.”

With eight returning starters from last year “and some newcomers who were looking to make a difference,” he coach continued, “this season had us excited. Last season we snuck into the playoffs as a 20-seed, knocked off the 13-seed in Somers in the out-bracket game and then went toe to toe with the four-seed in Yorktown losing 2-1 on a walk-off hit.  This taught us all how hard we needed to push to be successful. In our off-season training and the four days of practice, the focus, the energy, and the intensity had been raised; determined for a better outcome.”

This year’s senior class on the softball roster featured four-year players as well as newcomers. DelMoro said. “While their paths are all different, they all have one commonality, and that’s leadership. They never quit, always work hard, are coachable and lead by example. These traits will make this senior class extremely successful in the years to come in college and in their respective future professions. While they might not have had their senior season, their impact on our program here at John Jay is cemented forever.”

This year’s Jay softball senior class included Sarah Antunes, Bella Bettencourt, Linn Carbaugh, Taylor Hoffman, Jess Leff and Emma Lombardi.

Antunes, an outfielder who will be attending Sacred Heart University this fall.

“The last out right after we made it to the playoffs and any bus ride back after a win,” Antunes aid of her favorite Jay memories. “When I was younger, I always loved watching my older siblings play (softball) and I always wanted to be like them. I love the game and working with my teammates on the field.”

She added, “The time goes by so fast, so don’t take it for granted. Always give 100% effort, work hard and have fun.”

Bettencourt played the middle of the infield and is headed to Cornell.

She said, “There is something I’ve always loved about everyone working together on the field to make a play, the way everyone contributes their own part to the team as a whole.”

Her favorite memories echoed those of Antunes.

“All the bus rides to and from our games and winning our out-bracket game against Somers last year,” Bettencourt said.

Centerfielder Linn Carbaugh has decided on Lafayette College.

“My favorite memory is going to Disney with the team during spring break to play at the ESPN Zone and to go to all of the parks,” she said.

“I first played (softball) because I was tired of only watching my sister play,” she noted. “Ever since then, I’ve loved the strategy of the game and playing with a great group of people.”

A jack of all trades on the diamond, Hoffman is headed to Wake Forest University.

“Making the team” was Hoffman’s memory. “I wanted to try a new sport for my senior year that had a good team dynamic,” she explained. “I wanted to stay active during the spring and I wanted to play for coach DelMoro”

Leff, who played first base, will head to Harvard this fall, where she plans to major in neuroscience or biology as a pre-med and pursue her interest in theater.

Last year’s post-season win over Somers is one of her top memories.

“Beating Somers in our out-bracket game last year was definitely one of my favorite memories,” she said. “We were the underdogs of that game, but we really came together as a team and played one of our best games of the season.  After the last out of the game, we stormed the pitcher’s mound to celebrate.  It was amazing!”

Lombardi played second base and has been accepted at Pennsylvania State University.

“My favorite number has always been five because my all-time favorite Mets player is David Wright,” she said. “I feel extra lucky when I wear this number.”

“I love the feeling I get when I make a good play or get a good hit,” Lombardi said.

She advised younger players to enjoy the game. “Trust yourself. You’ll play best when you’re confident in your abilities. Don’t forget to have fun!”

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