SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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April 18, 2014

Fast Pitches: Salem working its way back

The Salem softball team isn’t looking for perfection this season; it’s just looking for consistency.

It’s always difficult coming off a losing season, but the Witches followed it up with the best possible scenario — a victory to start the 2014 campaign.

Behind first-year head coach Jennifer Bertone, who took over for father Dan after he spent the last 10 seasons with the Witches, Salem made some headway in its non-leaguer against Triton earlier this month. The main thing that they took from that game was confidence — and as Bertone says, that’s something you can’t coach.

Salem has a group of a talented athletes, all of whom have the desire to win. But since that opening game the Witches have hit a bit of a rough patch in their schedule, dropping four games in a row.

”It’s frustrating because they’re out there trying,” said Bertone, an assistant under her dad for many seasons. “The last few games are definitely ones that could’ve gone in our favor.”

Having a new coach come in right before the preseason can be somewhat overwhelming for a team. Luckily for Bertone, most of the girls are familiar with her. In fact, the Witches have identified with Bertone, who as a former Salem player herself can really relate to her squad in certain situations.

”We’ve learned how to work through more situations,” said junior shortstop Desiree Martin. “We’re just trying to put it all together on the field. Right now, we need to focus on not hanging our heads when an error occurs and just move forward.”

Martin is one of four returning infielders for the Witches. Captains Joanna Coleman (third base) and Hannah Wilkins (first base) are on the corners, while Sydney Hanford is back at second base and Martin reprises her role at short.

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