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The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

Chamblee Softball on Track for Another Great Season

Elena Smith (‘25) up to bat at a Chamblee softball game. Photo courtesy of Erin Meyers-Beck.

The Chamblee softball community is thriving this year. The team is 10-1 so far, and the girls have a tight knit relationship among themselves. The coaches for the varsity team, Coach John Phelps and Coach Nathaniel Berryman, have a positive outlook on the season and hope for improvement with the team’s skills, even if it isn’t reflected in scoring. 

Berryman said, “I’m not really worried about wins and losses so much as I am worried about growth. I think that we can improve in a lot of areas, and I hope we do. I hope it’s a lot of fun.” 

When Berryman coached at his previous school, the team focused on developing skills without worrying about the score, and it eventually became evident in the team’s record.

“When I first started coaching, I started at a school called Central Gwinnett in Lawrenceville, and we weren’t very good. We always had to play the big schools, and we never did very well record-wise, but those teams were the teams that showed the most growth even though it didn’t show in the win-loss column. I think Coach [Phelps] can attest to that when you have inexperienced players, you can’t really measure it by wins and losses. You need to set other goals and keep it realistic, positive, and just always encourage them to do better,” said Berryman.

Coach Alexandra Towner, coach of the junior varsity team, also agrees that the best part of coaching is seeing growth in the players’ skills.

“It’s just always nice to get to work with players one on one and make suggestions or small tweaks and then see improvement,” said Towner.

However, some of the players have their eye on the prize and enjoy winning more than anything. 

“I like it when we’re really good and when we beat everybody. There’s actually some pretty good competition. Sometimes it’s fun when it’s a tight game, and sometimes it’s also fun when you’re eight times better than the people that you’re playing,” said Stella Barton (‘26), a player for both varsity and JV.

Winning and doing well is a big part of the game to the players, but so is the social aspect and the players’ bonds with each other. 

“Best of all, I love hanging out with all the different people and being able to be friends with everyone,” said Barton. 

The girls on the team do their best to support each other regardless of how the players perform. They cheer their team on to victory even when people make mistakes. 

“Everybody is constantly supporting each other, cheering each other on, and everybody’s always lifting each other up. It’s a really supportive community to be a part of,” said Barton.

All of the girls have known each other for a very long time from playing softball and various other activities, and they have formed a strong relationship. 

“It’s definitely very sisterly because, as I said earlier, we all kind of grew up together. I’ve known a lot of them for a long time,” said Shea Parker (‘24), a varsity captain.

Even being a new teacher and new to the team, Towner has also noticed the strong relationships that the players have.

“It seems like they’re a pretty tight group, which is what you want to see. You want chemistry and friendships on and off the field. It seems like the players are supporting each other,” said Towner.

Though the players  a great bond amongst themselves, they also have a strong relationship with the sport itself.

“It has its highs and lows, but I definitely enjoy softball as a whole, and it’s definitely become a huge part of my life,” said Barton.

Not only have the players recognized softball as a huge part of their life, but the coaches have also noticed how important the sport seems to the players. 

Berryman said, “The passion is strong when you talk softball with our girls, it’s year-round for them. They live, breathe, and eat softball.”

Most of the players on the team played softball growing up, so they have been able to experience softball at school as well as at club organizations.

“[Club organizations] are definitely a lot more serious, because clubs are how you get recruited to go play at the next level. At schools, [you’re] more just trying to represent your school in a good way and make it far. I would say school was probably a lot more fun because you’re playing every day after school, so you really get to bond with your team,” said Parker.

The softball team has more games than practices, but when practices do take place, they’re for a particular reason or issue that the coaches need to solve. 

“We address situations that pop up in games that we need to fix. You know, it’s almost like teaching, you’ve got to assess, you need to take the test and figure out what you don’t know, and then go over it the next day,” said Berryman. 

Because there are so many games throughout the season, practices don’t happen very often, so it is important to be very active and productive during them. 

“We don’t practice a lot, because once the season starts happening, it’s more games than practices. It’s just repetitions of the everyday things you need to do like hitting, fielding, and a lot of running this year [due to] our coach,” said Parker.

The junior varsity team seems to need to do a little more adapting. The JV  practices typically depend on where the players are and what they need to work on. 

“We’ll work on different things. It also can depend on where we are, if we’re on the baseball field, or on the softball field, depending on the game schedule. If we’re on the softball field, then obviously it’s good to get infield practice and baserunning practice. And then if we’re on the baseball field, that’s more about getting reps and taking swings. So we’ll rotate it, do a lot of different things,” said Towner.

One of the varsity coaches left last year, so getting used to a new flow of practice with the different coach has been a bit of an adjustment for the players. 

“I played three years with our old coach, Coach Loper. He was definitely a little more laid back. He kind of let the girls have a little more control. The new coach, he’s a lot more organized than our old coaches. I really like our new coach because we do a lot, we get a lot done in practice, and now we’re a lot more productive,” said Parker.

The Chamblee softball team seems to be on the higher end of the softball teams around us, but the competition varies as do the games.

“We will have games where we’ve done three innings 15-0, it’s a quick 45 minute game. We also have games where we have to play the full seven innings. Those games can go as long as three hours sometimes,” said Parker. 

Competition can also depend on the districts of the teams and where they are. 

“Region opponents are usually a little worse than we are, but usually there’s some pretty good competition,” said Barton.

Something a lot of the players look forward to at Chamblee softball is getting the chance to be team captains when they’re seniors. 

“We just lead warmups, and we get to choose new uniforms, which is fun. We got to design the uniforms, which I think that’s kind of fun,” said Parker.

The captains also got to pick the walk-up songs for the freshmen. Some favorites included the song “ME!” by Taylor Swift.  

Although Berryman loves softball, he hadn’t originally hadn’t wanted to coach it.

“I just wanted to coach baseball because I didn’t think softball would be interesting enough for me. Then, I realized how much skill, time, and effort really goes into the sport. It’s just a lot of fun, and it’s very fascinating. It really does take a lot of thought to coach and I find it challenging,” said Berryman. 

While some of the coaches hadn’t always wanted to coach softball, Towner had enjoyed the sport growing up. 

“I played softball for Chamblee back in the day. I love the sport, [and] obviously the program means a lot to me. So it’s fun to get to come back and be a part of something that I played in and get to coach and see it from that angle too,” said Towner.

Phelps chooses to coach softball because he enjoys the game. He explains how he likes it in comparison to baseball.

“I also like the pace of the game. It’s like a faster version of baseball,” said Phelps. 

The softball team at Chamblee has proved to be a very successful team in recent years.  They have made it to state the past 2 years in a row. 

“I’d say winning region two times in a row and going to Columbus the last two years has been the highlight of my coaching career,” said Berryman.

School softball takes many people to keep it running. It involves parents, teachers, friends, and the players themselves to stay on top of everything that needs to be done. 

“We are blessed with amazing parents that help out all the time. I can’t do this by myself, I just recently had my second back surgery and I can barely move, so Coach [Phelps] takes on a lot of the physical workload. I can’t thank him enough. The parents, they come and fix the field, they give us meals, they set up the sound system, and they set up everything. We are blessed,” said Berryman. 

The coaches have all been very positive about this year so far and are excited to see how the rest of the season pans out. 

“I’m really excited to see what we’re going to do with our next couple games. They are an excellent group of young women,” said Towner.

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Anna Kate Flood
Anna Kate Flood, Staff Writer
Anna Kate Flood (‘26) is a sophomore and Staff Writer for the Blue & Gold. In five years, she hopes to be in college and studying to do something so she can be rich. Her 3 favorite things are food (especially Italian pasta dishes and matcha lattes), every Taylor Swift song ever, and Christmas.
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