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Young Patriots Ready to Take on the Season

Abner’s softball team must grow up fast in talent-laden Dulles District.

Following several weeks of pre-season practice, the Park View High girls’ softball team finally opened up its season last Friday night. The Patriots lost a tough, pitching dual, 2-1, against visiting Dulles District opponent Loudoun County.

Park View, coached by Ed Abner, is a young squad this spring. The team’s long spring training allowed it to work on fundamentals and to be well prepared for the start of the season.

"I have a young team with four seniors and the rest made up mostly of freshmen (2) and sophomores (4)," said Abner. "I think we needed practice time to get our confidence level up. We’ve been out practicing a lot."

The coach said his squad was anxious to play its first game last week. From now throughout the spring season, the Patriots will have a busy playing schedule with three games a week. This week, Park View was set to play district opponent Heritage on the road on Tuesday, a home game against non-district opponent Hayfield on Thursday, and a district affair at Potomac Falls on Friday night. All games were scheduled for 6.

"I think [the girls] are kind of used to a [busy game] schedule in a lot of ways because they are on travel teams and play a lot," said Abner. "We only play 20 games [during the regular season] and we’re going to get them in quickly. Every game is important."

<b>COACH ABNER</b> said a key to his team’s ability to gain the most out of this season would be for it to not mentally linger on mistakes when they occur. Mistakes, both physical and mental, are common with younger players, and the Patriots have their share of underclassmen. In a tough district,

Park View will have to learn to learn from their mistakes, not get discouraged when they occur and to focus on the next at-bat.

One of the team’s top leaders is senior Emily Garcia, an All-Region player who, according to coach Abner, is a good role model for the team’s younger players. The coach said Garcia is a good, helpful teammate who is always open to helping the younger ball players with game advice and encouragement.

Just because the Park View squad is younger overall does not mean the team will not be going all out and looking to win as many games as possible. Abner said two of the stronger aspects in regards to his squad are its desire to win and its team continuity.

"The team has real good chemistry," said Abner. "The freshmen bond well with the upper classmen. I also think we have a real competitive spirit. They don’t like to make mistakes. Defensively, we look pretty sound."