Burghers tapping athleticism, will-to-win for 2009 campaign

WARRENSBURG - Softball has a deep history at Warrensburg.

Back in the early- to mid-1990s, it was Warrensburg that raised softball standards in the region with Sara Rumrill's torrid pitching - speed, precision and throwing mechanics that prompted other teams to send their pitchers off to training camps.

Rumrill and her catcher Kim Lamy smashed school records, inspired teammates and raised expectations of players that have followed, both in the school and the region.

Since those three successive years fighting to attain the status of New York State finalist, Warrensburg has maintained, under the mentorship of veteran coach Mary ann Bump, a hard-driving, aggressive brand of softball that's become a Burgher trademark.

Whether staffed with great talent or good talent, Bump manages to inspire each year's squad to accomplish lofty goals - while having fun.

Last year's team wasn't expected to go far, but they ended up surpassing expectations with a 10-4 league record.

This year's team features a core group that are all-season, stellar athletes - seniors Mercedes Maltbie, Carol White, and Acacia Ladd-Cocca joined by junior Abby Roth - all with good instincts and competitive drive.

On the mound this year will be junior Rachel Simkins, who has good accuracy and consistency, Bump said.

"We've got a well-rounded group this year," she said, running through her roster and praising each one.

Graduation of 2008 seniors has meant rebuilding the infield with new personnel behind the plate and on first and third base.

Beyond the core group, there's talent - and that talent proved its worth April 10.

In a game versus Salem, Warrensburg's core group was on spring break already -along with about half the team - but despite this handicap, the team pulled off a 9-5 win with the help of some junior varsity substitutes.

In the game, Simkins hit a triple, Kuklinski and Fish scored doubles, and Holly Gheen hit some critical RBIs, Bump said.

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