On Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15, the Poolesville Storm, one of three Red Raider 12U fast-pitch softball teams, swept two games from the Olney Galaxy, 15-3 and 17-3 to win the 12U championship at Raider Park on Century Boulevard in Germantown. With those wins, the Storm completed an undefeated season (11-0) and celebrated by dumping a tub of ice water over the head of Coach John Gotlewski. “That win was a great Father’s Day present for me,” said Gotlewski. “These girls have been playing together for three and four years, and this season was the culmination of a lot of hard work. It was a great team in terms of on-the-field performance as well as off-the-field camaraderie. In the two playoff games, the pitching of Holly Raines and my daughter Alyson was outstanding. The three runs given up in each game were the lowest run totals of the year. In the championship game, Aly struck out the side in the first and Holly, the sister of PHS softball junior Jolee Raines, had a 1-2-3 inning in the second. The Storm was up 10-0 after two innings and then cruised to the win.”
The Storm is made up of players from Poolesville and the surrounding area. In the team’s first season, they still have seven from the original group of players on the team, their record was 1-9-1. They showed improvement each season leading to this year’s outstanding showing in which they outscored their opponents, 172-77. “I began coaching softball in 2011 because of my past experiences playing baseball and softball and because my daughter was interested in playing. My current team has twelve players: three of the players I have coached for four years, six of them I’ve coached for three years, and three of them I’ve coached for two years,” explained Gotlewski. “Obviously, this group of girls has a ton of talent, but what makes them special is the way that they interact as a team. There are a few different groups of close friends on the team, but we’ve not run into any drama with cliques. When they play softball, they are one tight cohesive group. Every girl has a role on the team and each girl contributed to the team’s success.” He added, “In addition to developing as players, I tend to see them as maturing together, and I think that this team was a great forum for them to learn lessons about hard work, patience, and respecting others.”
Last year, the Storm finished the regular season in first place but lost in the championship game. This year, with an increased sense of commitment, they dominated nearly every game. “Our defense and pitching were amazing in the playoffs,” said Gotlewski. “Those two games turned out to be the most lopsided wins of the year.”
Another highlight of the season was a trip to D.C. to take on another undefeated team, the Cap City Senators at Upshur Recreation Center. “That was our closest game. Brooke Brightful’s 270-foot home run came in the final inning in the Cap City game. It put us up, 13-6, and then we held on for the, 13-11, victory in our only real away game.”
“Maddie Burdette was our most versatile player,” said the coach. “She was the lead-off batter and played seven different positions during the season. We had great hitting from Brooke, Gwen Boe, Lindsey Lightcap, sister of PHS softball player Lauren Lightcap, and Amber Ennis; and there were great fielding performances by Kalie Terragno and Alivia Atkins. Alivia grabbed a screaming line drive in the championship game, and Kalie made big plays at first base all year long. Maddie Burdette, Cassandra Maier, Angelina Taylor, and Emily Lewis had smart at-bats, getting hits when they could and taking walks when that is what they were given. They all had lots of stolen bases and runs scored.”
In Little League softball, pitchers can only pitch three innings and no player can play one position for more than three innings, so there is no set lineup.