Ridgway softball was honored with a banquet to celebrate the season at The Royal Inn Monday night.
Ridgway varsity head coach Gary Gerber II expressed appreciation to athletic director Manny Barbazzeni as well as the players.
“We’re here to honor all the hard work these young ladies put into the softball season,” Gerber II said.
Senior catcher Sydney Kovalyak expressed her appreciation to coaches, parents and the booster club for the banquet along with The Royal Inn. She spoke about the excitement the team had for the upcoming season.
“When you give 100 percent to something, you can’t wait to get your glove out with your cleats and uniform,” Kovalyak said. “You can’t wait until the sign-up sheet comes around. You just want the season to be here."
Kovalyak then spoke about each of the coaches for this season. Rayna Valdez was a new coach on the team and Kovalyak said the team learned numerous lessons from her.
“After finding out that our new coach Valdez would be joining us, many of us became nervous but once she arrived, the girls and I became a lot stronger as players and as people,” Kovalyak said. “She taught us how to have dedication, how to keep on keeping on and how to hustle for everything and try your best.”
Kovalyak spoke about assistant coach Larry Imhof and his help.
“He has done so much for us and we can only thank you so many times,” Kovalyak said.
Kovalyak was appreciative of the work done by Gerber II as head coach.
“Thank you for teaching us and passing down your knowledge,” Kovalyak said. “I can only hope all three coaches will never forget the five seniors. We’re proud to say that we are their players.”
Kovalyak was part of a quintet of seniors on the softball team this season. Kovalyak was joined by fellow seniors Morgan Herzing, Melissa Wehler, Ashley Viglione and Sam Kovalyak.
“I want to thank these girls for not only being my teammates, not only being my friends but my sister as well,” Kovalyak said. “We’ve become a whole unit. We can lose by 15 and still have a great time.”
Kovalyak said she hoped the underclass players learned lessons from seniors.
“I hoped to show you all to be a good player, a good person and a trustworthy friend,” Kovalyak said. “I hoped I showed you all that love, passion and heart makes you a good player. If you’re not the all-star, that’s OK as long as you care about it and give your best, that’s all that matters. I hope I’ve been a role model to you all and I hope next season you will keep me and the other seniors in your heart as you play. Promise me and promise yourself you won’t take one second of your career for granted.”
Valdez said she hopes the underclass players learned from the five seniors.
“Don’t be scared that they’re gone,” Valdez said. “Be happy that they showed what you do have. Enjoy your next year and then when softball comes, we’re going hard and going strong.”
Gerber II said Jenni Thomas was an AML South All-Star selection and the winner of the student-athlete award winner. He introduced all of the players. The non-seniors introduced are Erika Morgan, Jill Gaio, Paige Grazioli, Alyssa Mitchell, Renee Catalano, Beth Renaud, Emily Spiers, Elise Pura, Katie Robuck, Sierra Kos, Jenna Hoffman, Taylor Roseto and Jenni Thomas.