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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 5, 2010

With just 9 players
Staroba’s team wins Cooperstown Classic

By Zach Simeone

GUILDERLAND — Though her team was a player short, Guilderland high school student Alex Staroba and her teammates won in the Cooperstown Classic softball tournament, in the hometown of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

“We played 12 hours of softball,” Staroba told The Enterprise this week, thinking back to the second day of the tournament. She and her team, the New York Outkast, played seven games in two days.

“Everyone was so tired, running on 5-Hour Energies and caffeine,” said Staroba, who will soon be entering her junior year at Guilderland High School.

On the path to victory, the Outkast ousted a handful of teams from around the Northeast, including the Saratoga Thunder B; the City of New York Wildcats; and the Pittsburgh Power, a team the Outkast met again in the final game.

In that last bout, the Outkast got 11 hits, defeating the Power 8-to-2. The Outkast had 43 total hits on Sunday alone. The team played three games on Saturday, July 24, and four games on Sunday, July 25.

“We had an unlucky number,” Staroba said. That number was six. “Lots of games, we would get six runs, and the other team would come back and beat us. So, this time, I’d hit five, and then I’d hit a double to make sure we got two more runs.”

The Outkast expected to have 10 players, Staroba said, but one didn’t show up. That meant the Outkast would have no substitutes, even if there were injuries.

“We’re like, ‘OK, we’re going to prove to them that we’re an awesome team right now…We’re going to do this with nine players.”

And they did just that, though some of her teammates did sustain minor injuries along the way, Staroba said.

“Our pitcher, a girl slid into her hand while she was sliding into home, and our one girl ran for a foul ball and ran into the wall,” she said. The weather, like the size of their team, was also unfavorable.

“We got there, and it was a really crappy day,” she said. “It was raining, but it was on a really nice field, and they were building camps around it, and more fields. It was very nice.”

Since they were playing on fields that are specially designed to cause water to run off on a rainy day, the weather did not interfere in the game, she said, and playing in the same town as the hall of fame was “pretty nice.”

Staroba first took interest in softball eight years ago, when her family moved to Guilderland from Schenectady, she said, and she saw her mom playing.

“And my cousin also played it,” said Staroba. “We went to visit her in Florida, and she’s a pitcher, and I was like, ‘Oh, I want to be like that’…I pitched when I was littler, and then I grew out of it. So, I started into outfield positions.”

Staroba has been a member of the Outkast for three years. But, in spite of her success, softball will likely remain a hobby for her. She does not plan on pursuing it professionally.

“As I started getting into the things I want to do in the future, the schools don’t offer it,” said Staroba, thinking about her college ambitions. “I want to be an art therapist, but the classes for it are only at art schools, and most art schools don’t really have a softball team.”

Looking ahead, Staroba said that winning in the Cooperstown Classic brings with it certain privileges.

“We have first picks for next year’s tournament there; like, we’re automatically invited,” she said. “And we’re allowed to intern there during the summer when the camps are built.”

As for her junior year at Guilderland Central, she is undecided.

“I might play, but I have lots of school stuff,” Staroba said. “I’m still thinking about it.”

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