Its been a special year for Heuveltons senior female athletes.
The girls soccer team reached the Section 10 Class D championship game. The girls basketball team won a Section 10 Class D title and also became the first Class D team in 20 years to win the overall championship.
But spring brings the sport where Heuvelton has been a power for the last 20 years, and the softball team hopes to add another Section 10 championship trophy as well as make it far in the state playoffs.
One of the key players in that quest will be senior Logan Tallman, who pitches and also is a shortstop for the Bulldogs.
I hope we do, Tallman said of winning a title. Weve all been together for a long time. We have a lot of chemistry as a team.
Unselfish players like Tallman are a key reason why Heuvelton is able to sustain its excellence on the softball field.
Bulldogs coach Josie Cole was a standout pitcher at the school, graduating in 2004, and shes worked with her former catcher, Eliza Pierce, to continue the winning tradition.
One change Cole made prior to last season was lessoning Tallmans role as a pitcher, so she could work her into the infield as a shortstop. Tallman still will pitch several games for Heuvelton, but she will share that duty with Alexis Weidner and Paige McCormick.
She loves both positions, Cole said. Shes smart enough to know when shes needed in the infield and that we need to utilize her somewhere else. She is fine with that and understands.
Tallmans team-first attitude shows on the offensive end of the game as well.
She was our leading bunter, Cole said. If we had to get a bunt down, I knew she would get it down. I had confidence in her, even in some of our bigger games. I knew I could count on Logan to get on base. She will actually come to me if shes having a tough (hitting) game and tell me shes going to bunt. She can place her bunts. A bunt is a hit in her eyes.
Said Tallman, I dont mind sacrificing and being out at first on a bunt, if it advances a runner. Im really good at placing the (bunt) in the right place. Whatever the task at hand, pitching, fielding or hitting, Tallman always brings out her best.
Shes very focused, Cole said. When she steps on the (circle) she has a goal in mind. Shes kind of hard on herself at times. I know I can count on her to not lose her head when shes (pitching). Her and (catcher) Hannah Thornhill work well together. They work the batter. She wont just throw a strike down the middle.
Said Tallman of pitching, I just do what (Thornhill) tells me to do. She keeps me focused and she knows what shes doing.
As for the days that Tallman does not pitch, she still plays one of the other key positions on the field in shortstop.
Shes probably the best in the league, Cole said. I know thats a bold statement, but shes not going to let a ball go by her. She likes to get down and dirty.
Heuvelton has been winning on the softball field for years, but its not something the coaches or team take for granted.
I dont like the girls to step on the field and think we already are a dominant team, Cole said. I want them to understand we earn every win we get. Now and then we have to remind them about the tradition. We work hard for what we get, and we practice six days a week. Allan Minckler was my coach and I try to instill the same values in my girls that he instilled in me. I feel like its the same attitude and the same work ethic. They have to work as hard as anyone else.
Tallman hopes to continue her athletic career next year at the college level.
I want to attend SUNY Canton for sports management, Tallman said. I definitely want to play basketball. Im not sure if Im going to play softball.
Last year the Northern Athletic Conference featured three teams that went undefeated or lost just one game during the regular season. Each of those teams returns its key pitchers this season.
Malone went undefeated to win the Central Division title and returns pitchers Annie Sharlow and Alissa McCauley. St. Lawrence Central, the East champion, returns Lindsey Thayer. Heuvelton claimed the West Division title.
OFA, Canton and Massena should challenge the Huskies in the Central Division. St. Lawrence Central will be tested by Norwood-Norfolk and Chateaugay.
Some other top individuals returning this year include Heuveltons Hannah and Rachel Thornhill, Brushton-Moiras Emily OConnor and MacKenzie Traynor, St. Lawrence Centrals Hailey Agans, Norwood-Norfolks Mickey Frego, Chateaugays Hannah Cook, Hermon-DeKalbs Clarissa Davis, Malones Erin McDonald, Cantons Beth Pearson, Parishville-Hopkintons Kodi Perkins and Massenas Mackenzie Young.