Softball team looks to strike back

Marblehead softball coach Johnny Gold is entering his 18th season coaching the Magicians. Photo by Item File Photo

After a rare losing season in 2022, the Magicians will look to improve and get back to winning ways under head coach Jonathan Gold. Gold is in his 18th year coaching softball and has only had two losing seasons at the helm.

“We’ve had a great culture at Marblehead,” Gold said. “Out of the last 18 years we’ve been to states 15 times, we had two losing seasons and one year was during Covid.”

When asked to describe this season’s team, Gold said they are “very young”.

“We only have one senior,” he said.

Despite their youth, Gold has his goals and expectations, which include getting back into the state tournament and competing for the Northeastern Conference title.

This year’s team is bringing a new sense of “enthusiasm,” as Gold explained that tryouts were an “eye-opener”.

“Tryouts have been great,” Gold said. “This was the best tryout we’ve had in years. It’s difficult to see who will start. Our starters may end up being kids who had a great day at the practice the day before.”

Within the group of talented kids is a core of freshmen, who have previously tasted success at the lower league levels.

“We had probably the largest freshman class in a long time. We had about 12 freshmen come in,” Gold said. “These kids played on the little league team that won States three years ago and they played on the Junior team that won States last year.”

Although freshmen have tasted success, Gold acknowledged that they may take a few games to translate to varsity softball.

“It’s a big jump from Junior league to high school,” Gold said. “We’ll have five freshmen on varsity this year, where usually we’ll have only maybe one or none.”

“Their enthusiasm is incredible. You can see talent in them. These kids know how to play,” he added.

Although everyone wants to play for a limited amount of starting positions, Gold spoke highly of his team’s attitude towards competition.

“They’re fighting against each other for positions, but they’re also cheering each other on,” Gold said. “I don’t see jealousy here, I see kids pulling for their teammates, which is wonderful.”

Gold said he’s going to test his team with a tough out-of-conference schedule, with the hope that it benefits the team in the long run.

“We play 13 games in the conference and then seven games outside of the conference,” Gold said. “I don’t make out-of-conference games easy. If you’re going to achieve anything after the season is over and you’re fortunate enough to make the tournament, if you played easy teams you’ll get knocked out right away.”

Gold strives for success on the field, but he feels accomplished when the kids go to college.

“Every year it’s ‘mission accomplished’ if we get the kids into college,” he said.

“I love being able to give back,” Gold added. “I love giving these kids life lessons. Seeing them achieve their goals, go to college, and live their life.”