ELHS Softball Interview

Brooke Haviland

Welcome to the East Lyme HS softball team!

Jennifer Raub is the assistant coach for the ELHS softball team. Arleen McKiernan (6)  is one out of 3 captains on the team. 22-23 Batting average: 286, and Ava Korineck (3) is a junior. 22-23 Batting average: 200. 

Wins overall- 4-4 (50%)

League: 0-2- Fourth in league 

HOME2-2                   AWAY2-2                     NEUTRAL 0-0                PF38                   PA26                 STREAK4L


  • The Viking Saga(TVS): “Describe some of your highlights from this season so far?” 

AK: “As a team, we have very good chemistry that makes it easy to be around everyone and helps a lot during games in tough situations. Additionally, we have greatly improved on our offense this year, and our hitting has proven our improvements from last year.  It helps greatly to know we have a very good pitcher too who can shut down our opponents in a jam.”

Jenn Raub(JR): “Oh, I wish I could make a highlight reel. Some of my personal favorite moments are Arleen’s 4 homeruns in 3 games, Madi Davis’ double at NFA, Ava Korenick’s many incredible plays in right, Karly Sorrentino (that’s it – full send. She’s great), Avery’s growth on and off the field, Gracie’s determination and persistence, the dance parties in the dugout, watching our seniors progress and how they’ve grown and evolved, and so many more. I genuinely love spending time with this team. Even small moments can become highlights with players like ours.”


  • TVS “What makes this team so close?” 

Ava Korineck(AK): “I think that because we played little league together growing up, our chemistry has been here for years. For the seniors and juniors specifically, we both had to prove ourselves when the juniors were freshmen and the seniors their sophomore year because of Covid, so our bond tightened that season as well.”

JR: “A lot of our players are friends or play on other sports teams together, so they’re definitely not strangers. They bring those relationships to our team and then expand them to include other teammates. I firmly believe that we have a great group of young women on our team and they deserve so much credit.”

  • TVS: “Describe some downfalls or roadblocks you’ve faced this season that creates your team to be stronger?” 

AK: “Some downfalls are that we leave people on base. It’s not that we aren’t hitting, we’re doing great with that, it’s just we leave runners stranded during big innings. But we’re working on that and I’m confident that we’ll be able to fix that soon.”

JR: “This is a tough question. A lot of our “roadblocks” have been individually based, so I feel that our addressing and working with each player is helping the team to overcome issues. Our bats have been making great contact and we’ve had some amazing and consistent defensive players – that’s a coach’s dream. As long as the coaches and players continue to pick up and help players that are having a hard time, I’m hoping we can avoid major roadblocks altogether. (Knock on wood!)”

Arleen McKiernan(AM): “Some roadblocks in the beginning of our season were the struggle for lack of players. We have a large varsity team, but no JV. But despite that, I have come to appreciate every single person and their roles on the team. We have also come very far with confidence compared to the beginning of the season which I am proud of as well.”


  • TVS: “Describe any superstitions you have vs people on your team? And as a whole, what do  you need to do before going out? 

AK: “As softball players, we are pretty superstitious. At least, I know I am. For me I wear game socks and two braids every game day, but as a team our superstitions are wearing fierce/elaborate eye black, and keeping the same hairstyles.”


  • TVS: “How does your team react to having a bad game or practice. What happens to your chemistry?” 

JR: “Every team has their great times and times where they struggle. We have been having a very good season overall, but even we get down sometimes. We’ve been talking about picking each other up and supporting each other through whatever we need. A lot of our players are natural leaders and do this on their own and it’s really great to see them listen to each other and build each other back up.”

  • TVS: “How are you helping your players achieve their goals? And what do some of those goals look like?”

JR: “Goals are definitely different from player to player. For some players their goals might be about individual skills and consistency while others’ goals might be around confidence and mental fortitude. Skills tend to be more straightforward to build up towards since the coaches can plan practices and drills around areas of need or pull an individual aside for more individualized practice. Part of how I hope I’m helping players with those goals is also remembering and tracking how their skills are progressing, so we can also celebrate individual wins and successes.”


  • TVS: “Tell me about some team bonding events and what they look like if you have them?”

JR: “Our captains have been doing a nice job with team bonding on the player level; they recently had a party to have fun and relax. At practices, we do our best to plan some fun team bonding activities, too. Just this past week, Coach Deeb planned an egg hunt around the field and the players got competitive! I think the winner was Karly with 10 eggs. A legend.”


  • TVS: “What does a typical practice look like?” 

JR: “A typical practice has structure to it – the players arrive (and eat their snacks) and then warm up and stretch while chatting about their day or answering a ‘question of the day’ the captains pick. After that, our drills or activities tend to be planned around how previous games have been balanced with preparation for an upcoming game. If we know an upcoming pitcher has a particular speed, we can work on batting with a machine set to that range. If we know we have struggled with certain defensive plays, we can break the skill down to different parts of the field and then build back up to a full field drill.”


  • TVS: “Explain hard conversations you had to have to reach team success?”

JR: “The head coach has a lot of the hardest conversations, but the assistant coaches also have our fair share. A lot of the tough conversations are one-on-one talks with players. It could be about decorum and dealing with frustrations or playing time or how players are feeling and playing. If coaches can have those tough conversations with players one-on-one, it should build the team to overall success. Each of our players is crucial to the team, regardless of their position, and strengthening each individual will benefit the entire group.”

AM: “Some difficult topics that come along with playing softball is the reality of how mental the game is. A team of people relying on each-other for support is easier said than done. Often, players take their mistake on the field and get in their heads which can throw off the momentum of the game completely. We’ve had to discuss the importance of teamwork and being supportive teammates regardless of the mistake or mental block given by circumstances. It’s not so much of a hard conversation to have, but more so like a very important aspect to understand as a team in order to reach success.”