Meet the Rookies: Softball Edition

SLC Softball prior to a game over spring break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Credit:

SLC Softball prior to a game over spring break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Credit:

As the weather heats up and flowers bloom around campus, the start of spring marks something different for SLC softball players: the beginning of a new season. With a revamped roster and a successful tournament already under their belts, these first year players are ready to hit the fields.

Delaney Parker

Hometown: Milford, New Hampshire

High School: Milford High School

Position: Pitcher, Infield

Fun Fact: Can lick both elbows

A seasoned softball player, Parker was keen to engage in other aspects of campus life as an athlete.

“I really enjoy softball, but I also really enjoy doing musicals and other stuff,”  Parker said. “When I met the team it was really cool because there were a lot of people with different interests. It was somewhere where I could do softball, but also do the music-related things I wanted to do.”

Furthermore, Parker has found the bond she’s created with her teammates especially rewarding as she’s transitioned into the college division.

“As a player, it really helps me do better when I’m around a lot of people who I’m really comfortable with,” explained Parker. “I love the team… we all just get along so well.”

After months of long practices and built up to the season, Parker is confident that the new influx of talent will push SLC softball beyond their previous success. With a spring break tournament resulting in huge wins over competing programs Albertus Magnus College and Lesley University, the hard work is already starting to pay off.

“We have a chance to do really well this season,” said Parker. “I think this is going to be the best year in the history of Sarah Lawrence softball.”

Adrienne Samuels

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

High School: Columbia Heights High School

Position: First Base, Catcher

Fun Fact: Is fascinated by maps and cartography

When Samuels originally committed to SLC, she did not plan to play softball. However, after contacting the team’s coach, she changed her mind — and could not be happier with the community she’s found in the softball program.

“I love having the support of a team, and I wasn’t ready to lose that as a freshman in college,” explained Samuels.

After a tournament in South Carolina drew the team closer, Samuels, like many other newcomers, was thrilled to find her own support systems in her teammates.

“We all support each other on and off the field,” Samuels said. “We know how to pick each other up and we have each other’s backs.”

While, like any Division-III program, athletics are not the main focus of her collegiate career, Samuels believes that the passion for the sport binds her teammates together. As the season continues, Samuels is also excited to see how the team fares in the talented Skyline conference.

“Our team is a lot different than in past years,” explained Samuels. “We’re proving to other teams that we are a team to look out for.”

Samuels is also excited to see more student support from the SLC community. Located at Marshall Field against a backsplash of lush trees and a steep hill for students to sit, the softball diamond is a premiere spot for a picnic, something that Samuels hopes will lure students to a few games throughout the season.

“It means a lot when other students show up, even if [they] don’t understand the sport or what [they’re] watching,” remarks Samuels. Laughing, she adds, “You learn when to clap.”

Skyler Vallarta

Hometown: Brea, California

High School: Sonora High School

Position: Outfield

Fun Fact: Wants to study photography and journalism at SLC

Another experienced softball player, Vallarta was initially drawn to the down-to-earth and friendly atmosphere the team provided.

“If I didn’t like the team, I probably wouldn’t have played,” admitted Vallarta. “I’ve played on teams where people think they’re better than everyone else, and [the SLC team] wasn’t like that.”

Furthermore, as a part of a DIII school and New York’s Skyline Conference, Vallarta felt more comfortable playing with SLC than an intenser, more competitive program that schools in higher divisions might offer. Though many programs might prioritize performance over other aspects of the sport, Vallarta’s passion for playing softball is what helped her decide to continue playing at the collegiate level.

“I mostly just play for fun,”  Vallarta revealed. “I like winning, but I’m not too serious about it.”

Like many of her teammates, Vallarta is happy to have found her community within the softball program at SLC. Like many student athletes at Sarah Lawrence, their collegiate experiences aren’t defined just by athletics,

“One of the reasons I joined was for the social aspect,” Vallarta said. “I like being able to hang out with the team.”

With more home games on the horizon for the Gryphons, Vallarta is excited to see members of the SLC community come out and support the program, and encourages students to come out and watch the sport through a view most other fields don’t have.

“We have a really nice field.… At most fields, spectators would sit behind the home plate and watch the game,” explained Vallarta. “You have to watch it by the hill and the outfield… you have a different view of the game.”

Becky Roberts

Hometown: Neptune Township, New Jersey

High School: St. Rose High School

Position: Outfield

Fun Fact: Has a black belt in karate.

Like many of the first years on the team, Roberts wasn’t exactly sure if she wanted to play softball coming into SLC.

“I played softball up until I was fourteen and I stopped playing,” explained Roberts.

While she initially stopped playing due to grievances with her high school team, she decided to pick the sport back up again after attending a team meeting and learning more about the community at SLC.

“I heard a lot of good things about the team,” Roberts said. “I wanted a way to make friends, so I thought about it… and then said ‘why not just start playing softball again?’”

While the start to the season was postponed due to inclement weather, Roberts is excited to watch the team progress, and ready for the team to test themselves against skilled competition.

“I like the competitiveness,” said Roberts.

Additionally, Roberts has found what she calls a family with her teammates, citing the comradery of the team as a big component of why she enjoys the SLC program.

“The team is very familial,” she continues. “Everyone cares for each other and everyone is willing to help a person up when they fall down, whether it be inside or outside of softball.”

As more games begin to take place at Marshall Field, Roberts is eager to gain an audience, especially as the team begins hits their competitive stride.

“It’s a beautiful place to sit and a fun game to watch.”

Alexa Zartman-Ball

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

High School: The Madeira School

Position: Utility

Fun Fact: Has an aversion to spoons

A trend between the first years on the team, what attracted Zartman-Ball to the softball program at SLC was the bond teammates form with one another.

“Our team is full of so many talented girls personalities, and it’s an environment that I really enjoyed,”  Zartman-Ball said. “Advancing myself into college softball has been really fun and an adventure.”

During the college search, Zartman-Ball knew the softball program was something she wanted to look into. When she discovered SLC, where she could create her own educational path and remain close to her home in D.C., she knew the school and its program would be a perfect fit for her.

“The team is really special, it’s a bond you won’t find anywhere else,”  Zartman-Ball said. “It’s definitely a second family.”

Furthemore, Zartman-Ball is excited to be a part of a program that is already eclipsing past season successes. So far the team holds a 6-6 record, just coming off a pair of a wins against Lehman College March 28. The doubleheader also marked a season-high scoring record for a Gryphons, batting in seventeen runs in the second game, a trend Zartman-Ball hopes to continue as the season progresses.

“We have a lot of talent this year. This team is the team to take seriously.”

Bella Rowland-Reid '21