Winter sport athletes face quick turnaround to spring

Winter sport athletes face quick turnaround to spring

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Winter sport athletes face quick turnaround to spring

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Marlboro's Taylor Felicello pitches during the Section 9 Class B Championship in Rhinebeck last year.

Marlboro’s Taylor Felicello pitches during the Section 9 Class B Championship in Rhinebeck last year.

For teams like the Marlboro High School boys and girls basketball teams and the Pine Plains girls basketball team, the winter season didn’t end in a timely fashion.

The New York state basketball tournaments extended the winter season for those teams, while players on other winter teams from other local schools have also made the changeover.

Taylor Felicello played point guard for the Iron Dukes girls basketball team, which reached the Class B state semifinals. After Marlboro was upended by Section 3’s Westhill, 58-41, Felicello’s attention then had to shift to softball.

But, that hasn’t been overly difficult.

“The transition from the winter sport to the spring sport is not too much of a challenge,” said Felicello, who plays centerfield and pitches for the Iron Dukes softball team, which, like the basketball team, reached the state semifinals last year.

“I’m already in shape from all the running in basketball and I’m used to six days of practice.”

Teammate Missy Sadler agreed.

“For basketball, I think there’s more running. Once we get into softball we’re not slow, going into a sluggish start,” said Sadler, who played guard and forward on Marlboro’s basketball team and plays left field on the softball team. “The pace of basketball is faster, and if we’re up to that speed, we can sink down into softball speed.”

Sadler added that, overall, the adjustment has been pretty simple, despite not doing any softball activity since the summer. The biggest adjustment, Felicello said, is getting her timing down and her throwing arm in shape. Sadler mentioned that part of the transition is a mental game.

Marlboro's Melissa Sadler hits during Tuesday's game versus Highland at Marlboro.

Marlboro’s Melissa Sadler hits during Tuesday’s game versus Highland at Marlboro.

“We had to expand our (basketball) season and push it a few weeks, going farther than the other teams,” she said. “It can be a little more mental. But I think after the first couple days being back with the softball team, it was easy.”

Other winter teams weren’t as fortunate in the postseason as Felicello, Sadler and Marlboro. Take the basketball teams from Spackenkill; both the Spartans boys and girls basketball teams reached the Section 9 Class B finals, but lost to the Iron Dukes.

The Spackenkill baseball team boasts a pair of players in Adam Wennersten and Alex Strom — both of whom played basketball this winter.

Baseball coach Don Neise, who also stood at the helm of the Spackenkill girls basketball team, said both have been making a smooth transition.

And, their play on the court might help their play on the diamond.

“They’ve done a real nice job,” Neise said of his two players. “With their experience and success on the basketball court — that only helps us improve as a team.”

A.J. Martelli: amartelli@poughkeepsiejournal.com, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports

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