Casey Sclafani needs a little push sometimes. The St. Edmund Prep junior, who plays travel softball for the New York Panthers, didn’t try out for the school’s team her first two years, in order to concentrate on her school work.
This year her friends would hear none of it.
“She is a really, really shy girl,” junior pitcher Emma Farrington said. “We amped her up. We told her, ‘Come play for us. You are going to have a ball. You are going to enjoy our team.’”
So, Sclafani decided to give it a shot and joined the team for a summer ball tournament in Florida. It gave her a chance to bond with her future teammates and see what they were talking about.
“I just wanted to play,” she said. “I knew all the girls on the team. I went to Florida with them … I got close with them spending a week with them.”
Sclafani has become an integral part of an upstart Eagles squad since. She is the team’s starting catcher, with an excellent arm. She also pitches. Sclafani, the cleanup hitter, also provides plenty of pop in the Eagles order in tandem with Janelle Garvey.
“She’s done a lot,” Ferrington said. “It’s a privilege to have her on the team. She has helped the team out a lot with her hitting and our catching, in the way she plays her position and the way she hits the ball. It’s amazing.”
Added St. Edmund coach Rowena Motylewski, “She will basically do anything I tell her to do and she does everything well.”
Sclafani has been one of the big reasons for the Eagles turn around. St. Edmund finished 5−10 last season and was usually suffering run−rule losses to the CHSAA Brooklyn Division’s elite teams. This season they are 7−2 in league, have played right with defending champion Fontbonne Hall, losing by a run, and were defeated just 4−1 by current division leader Bishop Kearney. Sclafani’s positive outlook and leadership has helped the Eagles through adversity.
“She is the first person to talk anybody up if something goes wrong,” Motylewski said. “I think that’s huge. Something I didn’t think we had last year. Someone made a mistake they’d take it hard. It was difficult to shake that off. Having another player telling you to shake it off is a good way, in a positive way to turn a game around.”
She is just returning the push her teammates gave her at the start.
“We,” Sclafani said, “just motive each other.”