For the seniors on the Bangor High School softball team, adapting to a new coach has become commonplace.
They will be playing for their third head coach in three seasons this spring as Sophia Sciarappa, a 2022 graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut, has taken over for Maureen Barron.
Barron, whose senior twin daughters Lane and Rae played for her last season, coached the team for one year as the replacement for Don Stanhope, who retired after 16 seasons in the Rams dugout.
“It’s definitely different having someone coaching us who is close to us in age,” said Cassidy Ireland, the Rams’ starting senior second baseman. “But it has been a very smooth transition. She just graduated from Wesleyan and has a lot of softball experience. She has gelled real well with us so far.”
Sciarappa takes over a team that went 10-6 during the regular season a year ago and then beat Mt. Blue of Farmington 10-0 and Hampden Academy 4-0 in the playoffs before losing to Messalonskee of Oakland 4-2 in the semifinals. A hurdle for the team will be its pitching, as Lane Barron pitched virtually all of the team’s games last season.
“It’s nice to have a young coach who can relate to us,” Streams, the Rams’ senior catcher said of Sciarappa. “She has been very welcoming. She is very knowledgeable and very positive. Everything she says has been encouraging.
Streams added that Sciarappa, who is recovering from knee surgery and is on crutches, believes in being “very aggressive” on the basepaths.
“She wants us to take any base we can. And she wants us to be the grittiest team she has ever seen,” Streams said.
“Being gritty is how you win close games,” said Ireland.
Sciarappa is a former catcher who was a two-time All-NESCAC selection at Wesleyan.
Casey Carter and Raegan Sprague, who are both seniors, will take on pitching duties for the Rams.
Carter, who transferred to Bangor from Ellsworth a year ago, is Bangor’s starting shortstop but saw some duty in the circle a year ago including a complete-game 4-3 eight-inning win over Edward Little of Auburn, in which she allowed just six singles.
Sprague pitched for the junior varsity team. She worked on her pitching a lot in the off-season, according to Ireland.
“They’ve looked real good. They’ve been throwing strikes and that’s all we need,” Streams said.
The Rams expect to score runs with their strong offense.
“The majority of our starting lineup returns and everyone is a pretty strong hitter,” Ireland said.
The speedy Streams is the catalyst in the lead-off spot and there are other productive veterans in the lineup including Ireland, left fielder Ashley Schultz, center fielder Taylor Coombs, third baseman Gabby Goding, first baseman-designated hitter Cassidy Richardson and right fielder Emma Kennedy.
Schultz, Coombs and Kennedy are seniors, while Richardson is a junior and Goding is a sophomore.