By Nicole Kuzler
High school softball is an experience in and of itself. To have had the ability to play with some of my best friends for the past four years has been amazing. My freshman, sophomore and junior years were filled with great memories both in the dugout and on the field, but my senior year as a Great Neck South Rebel will always be special to me.
This year, the team moved up two conferences, and since the level of competition had been increased, leadership became a mandatory role of mine. As our team’s starting pitcher and one of the captains, it is a role that I took very seriously.
In addition to a new conference, we also had a new coach this year, Ryan Pingitore. Adjusting to a new coach is usually a difficult process but, with Coach Pingitore, it was a smooth transition for everyone on the team.
Immediately, there was a major difference in the tone of our practices. Everything was organized. We trained as a team, practiced as a team and played as a team. He united us and instilled a sense of camaraderie. Coach Pingitore made a difference.
Our season got off to a slow start and the adjustment to the new level of competition was a struggle.
The Great Neck South Softball Program did not have much of a successful history and isn’t often held in high regard, but one coach can—and did—change everything.
Within his first year, Coach Pingitore set up a team store from which we all ordered matching jackets. He set up an Instagram account for our team, which documented all our memories from games and practices and, most importantly, he gave our team something we never had—spirit.
“It’s a Rebelution” is the motto Coach came up with, and it became something that we rallied around.
It was simple, but effective.
It generated a sense of pride that this program had never seen before.
We looked forward to practice every day and we wanted to take long bus rides to our games, just to spend more time with each other.
Our team has even visited the middle school to help out at their practices and shape future softball players who will be entering the program.
I’ve been a part of this program for four years and I can honestly say that with Coach Pingitore in charge, Great Neck South softball is on the rise.