Good experience for locals on Raiders Gold
For Ridgebury's Olivia May, of Notre Dame, this summer was a lot different than years past.
No more worrying about impressing college coaches. No more need to pitch, no more pressure to try and decide on a college.
With her future already decided, she will play softball at Cornell next year, May spent this summer enjoying her last year with the Conklin Raiders Gold.
"This summer, since I was done with the recruiting, I was able to go out and play and not worry about it and have fun," May said.
After spending most of her life dominating on the pitching mound, May will work as an outfielder in college and that's what she did all summer long.
"Not pitching this summer, I was able to focus on other things," May said. "I pitched in high school and it was something I enjoyed, but it's also something I had to do. With this team there were other girls to throw so I didn't have to."
While May is just finishing her time with the Raiders, two other area players still have more time with the Raiders Gold as Towanda's Koryn Wickwire and Tioga's Sam Wood each enjoyed their summer.
"I really enjoyed it," Wickwire said. "I earned a starting spot at third base and I became more and more comfortable."
For Wickwire, who will be a senior next year, this summer is a good chance to get noticed by colleges.
"It does help a lot," she said. "There are so many good girls on this team so it's a good chance to get noticed."
For Wood this summer was a huge step up in competition as the Tioga pitcher, who will be a sophomore next season, got a chance to face some talented, and older, players.
"It was a very big jump," Wood said. "It helped me improved, I got so much better this summer."
Wood knows that playing against these players only can make her better when the school year rolls around.
"It really helps," she said. "I have a lot more confidence that I can go out there and do well."
Wickwire is one of the lone players on the team who is from a Pennsylvania school, so things are a little different for her, as every day is a chance to see players she doesn't compete with during the school year.
"It's different from these other people, they play against each other during the year, I don't see them during the season," she said.
For Wood and May there are plenty of times where their teammates during the summer become their opponents during the school year.
"It's a little bit different," Wood said. "During the school year I almost cheered for Liv (May). I started to cheer for her and then I stopped myself. I have to remember we are not teammates during the school season."
The one benefit to playing with some of the area's best players during the summer is it really boosts the confidence for the younger players like Wood during the school year.
"It really helps," she said. "It makes you better and helps you to be able to get to the next level."
For May this weekend marks the last travel tournament of her career and she will really miss it in the future.
"Doing travel ball is really the best decision I ever made," May said. "My friends on this team are my best friends. Their parents are like my parents. It's going to be sad to say goodbye."