Troy's fabulous freshman try to find their role in softball
This year's freshman class of Troy girls' athletes has found success in nearly everything they have done.
In basketball, Faith Ceely, Taylor Johnston, Brooke Mattocks and Kelsey Bristol all were starters and key players.
Ceely, Johnston and Mattocks also were key players on the soccer team, while Bristol was one of the top players on the volleyball team.
Things were a little different when the softball season began. The four, along with fellow freshman Marisa Jarrell, were all trying to learn their roles at the varsity level.
"It's different when you are playing on a team that is really successful," Bristol said.
"There are some good leaders, some really good leaders on this team," Ceely said.
All of the freshmen were on talented, upperclassmen led teams during the Fall, but in the winter Ceely, Johnston, Mattocks and Bristol played on one of the youngest teams the NTL has seen in a long time.
This is a Troy softball team that reached the PIAA playoffs last year, and all the freshmen knew they had to work hard to get any playing time.
"Everyone is talented, you have to come and do your best," Johnston said.
"We have to practice hard and play hard," Ceely added.
While it can be hard to fit in with a team that returns a lot of players, it helps that there are so many freshmen on the team.
"Half the team is freshmen," Bristol said.
"And, we all get along really well," Mattocks said.
For Mattocks the one thing that has helped her is having an older sister on the team, and playing travel ball with all the varsity girls for a few games during the summer.
"It helps you get to know all of them a lot," Mattocks said.
As this season has gone on, the five freshmen have seen their roles increase. Ceely has been the starter all year at third base and Bristol has moved into the starting shortstop role for most of the year.
Johnston has started getting starts in the outfield, while Mattocks is getting starts as the designated player and Jarrell has emerged as one of the team's primary pinch runners.
Still, it's been a big adjustment for all the freshmen.
"It's different, you are used to playing a position and you get to varsity and there is someone already playing that position," Ceely said.
"You have to get used to playing somewhere else," Bristol added.
After a basketball season which was a bit of a learning experience for the young Trojans, the expectations jumped to a new level once softball started.
"Our first open gym Hannah (Jackson) came in and said we are winning states," Ceely said.
"It keeps pushing us," Jarrell said.
The success the Trojans have had in recent years, including a district title two years ago before making states last year, is something that this group wants to continue.
'It puts a little extra pressure on us," Johnston said.
"You definitely want to be able to win, especially for the seniors," Bristol said,
And because of those expectations every game is important.
"In basketball we were young, if you won four games you were happy," Bristol said.
"Now, it's bad if we lose four games in a season," Ceely said.
"We know we have a good team, we do not want to lose," Bristol said. "We know we have the right people to win this year."
They also have had to adjust to playing in a new year as members of the NTL West this year.
"There is a lot more travel," Mattocks said.
"In the East you knew everyone on every team," Johnston said. "Now, you don't know all the players on these teams."