Throwin’ down with three


The team works hard to create a familial bond between the players. Off-field chemistry translates into on-field success. Photo provided by Germaine Padilla.

Tatum Thompson

Taft High School is now the only Chicago Public School (CPS) with a softball program containing three softball teams.

The girls softball program consists of three teams varsity (V),  junior varsity (JV), and a freshmen/sophomore (Fresh/Soph) team. The three head coaches, Germaine Padilla (V), Gregory Liske (JV), and Cassandra Rothbart (Fresh/Soph) all agree the team will have positive effects on the softball program at Taft and will allow for more girls to join the teams rather than cutting players with potential. The new Fresh/Soph team with new talent will play suburban and private school teams

Geometry teacher, Rothbart, is the head coach of the new team. She is excited for more girls to get the chance to play softball at Taft.

“By adding another team, it allows more girls the opportunity to play and grow at the game,” explains Rothbart. “This helps the program overall because more girls are playing and getting better each year giving them a better shot at playing at the junior varsity or varsity level,” she added.

The head varsity softball coach and physical education teacher, Padilla, said that the teams are intended to “increase playing time for younger levels” of softball and provide a solution to the “influx of players wanting to play softball” at Taft.

The expected benefits go beyond only providing younger students an opportunity to get on the field. Padilla is hoping that the extra team entices seventh and eighth grade girls and convinces them to attend Taft.

Varsity softball player senior Maya Yee (Div. 926) is excited to watch the program grow with the additional team. “It’s going to build a better foundation and bring a lot of girls together,” said Yee. With more girls joining softball, the close, family-like community of players is going to grow.

The familial bond between the girls is necessary for a strong team and effective playing. Yee insists that “if you are not cooperating with your teammates, it is going to show on the field.”

To develop the bonds between the players, the team has assigned their teammates a “big sister” and a “little sister.” Varsity players serve as the JV players’ big sisters with the latter serving as the big sisters towards the new freshman/sophomore players.

The latest addition to Taft softball will further enhance the program and hopefully allow more girls that enjoy the sport to play and  build their skills.