Tonawanda News — The Lady Jacks are back.
It’s been a while since the North Tonawanda softball team has been above the .500 mark. Far too long, for loyal followers of the team in the Lumber City.
But the spring of 2014 has brought a reversal of fortunes, as the Lady Jacks opened up with three straight wins in the Niagara Frontier League and held down first place for the first time since legendary former coach T.K. Murphy was at the helm.
“Like (before we thought) we never win. Now we actually have a chance. And we know we have a chance every game,” said senior first baseman Lyssa Carlson, who experienced the lean years. “Last year, I remember, we were like ‘oh, we’re gonna play Ken-West. We’re gonna lose. There’s no way, we’re probably gonna get ‘mercied.’ Now, we have a chance to win. And we know that.”
The players all agreed that the turning point came last year when coach Samantha Rajski took over. Rajski, a former star at St. Bonaventure and Frontier High School, brought the winning attitude that she lived by during her playing days. Rajski also found a way to tap into each girl on an individual basis and increase their confidence by helping them find their best skills. Most importantly just the simply gesture of returning to the job, after seeing coaches come and go, was the show of faith the Jacks had been waiting for in a coach.
“We’ve had coaches leave and so ‘we’re just not good enough’ Things like that,” Carlson said.
Under Rajski, the Lady Jacks have returned to the mindset that winning is an expectation, not just a nice surprise.
“It’s helped a lot having her here for the last two years. We hope she’s here for a long time because she’s a great coach,” said sophomore pitcher/infielder Rachel Krawczyk. “She’s done a lot for the program.”