By Evan Freedman
The Boston International girls’ softball team extended its winning streak to 11 games by beating Fenway today, 22-10. Impressively, many of head coach Holly-Beth Renaud’s players are new to the game, and some are still mastering the English language.
Tri-captain pitcher/center fielder Laura Suarez moved to Dorchester from the Dominican Republic at age 12 and has only been playing organized softball since her freshman year. She credits the team’s success to their discipline and hard work.
“We are focused,” said the junior, who pitched the first part of the game before switching to the outfield. “Our heads are in the game.”
The team started the year 0-3, but Coach Renaud said the rocky beginning of the season toughened her squad.
“We played some of the best teams, like Madison Park, early on, which helped us,” she said.
Since then, International (12-4 overall) has reeled off 12 wins and is looking forward to a potential playoff berth.
Helping them reach their ultimate goal is junior first baseman, Jenny Delgado, who has played since her sophomore year. She remarked how teamwork has been instrumental to their winning streak.
“We help each other, on and off the field, even in school,” she said. “We have a really nice bond. I’m really happy to be part of the team.”
The sparkplug of the team is center fielder/pitcher Jessie Barbossa of Dorchester. The junior is an emotional leader, whooping it up from the bench and shouting encouragement to her teammates.
“I’m loving it,” she said gleefully. “The team is so supportive. There are lots of laughs…it’s like a family.”
With a student population of only 200, International does not have the resources of some of their rivals. Their budget only allows for one paid coach, but Renaud said the team wouldn’t be where they are at without assistant coach (and husband) Drew Hughes-Brock. Renaud and Hughes-Brock instill fundamentals in their young squad.
“Some of the players went to softball camp over the winter,” said Renaud, explaining the team’s newfound success. “They learned the basics, and now we’re just trying to grow.”
The girls look to add on to their streak at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Snowden at the Fens.
Evan Freedman is a volunteer ESL teacher for adults at English High. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org