- Junior, Alivia Cimorelli — “She is a three-year letterwinner and is the team’s most light-hearted player, allowing the most grim situation to be twisted around to a positive opportunity.”
- Junior MacKenzie Stenroos — ”She provided the team with a player who we could play infield or outfield.
- Sophomores Jordon Scott and Alicia Ngiraingas — “They were the team’s dynamic duo. Alicia, the team’s most valuable player and No. 1 pitcher, is a player who would love to play all positions, if possible. “Jordon Scott, an exceptional athlete and starting catcher, has barely scratched her playing ability and we look forward to her recognizing what possible potential she has next year.”
- Freshmen Reilly DeGeorge and Madeline Martino — “They are the future of the program. Both bring playing experience along with tremendous future growth.”
Houser, who took over as head softball coach in the aforementioned 2006 season and went 10-5 that spring, admits if it were only about the bottom line, he would not still be the Heralds’ head coach.
“Since being involved at St. John from 2003 to present, I have been part of some success and definitely some losing seasons,” he said. “Coaching several other teams, from the startup days of the Ohio Jaguars to taking boys from Ashtabula Little League to state five years in a row to winning GLBL leagues with teams out EAC Club, people will always ask, ‘how can you stay at that school (St. John) and deal with the possibility of another losing season?’”
And, to his credit, Houser answered the only way he knows — from the heart.
“My answer is always the same, as it is no matter what team I’m involved with,” he said. “It’s not always about the record, but about the memories you make, the life-building experiences you encounter and use in the future and just being able to say, ‘I was part of the team.’
“Sure, winning is great and we all want so much, the opportunity, but sometimes, as a coach and parent, you just sit back and say, ‘what a great gift these players are,’ and enjoy.”
Which just shows what anyone who has known Mike Houser has always realized — despite six consecutive seasons of struggle — the man is a winner.
And, this spring, his Heralds were, too.
McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at email@example.com.