9 Jun 2010
Softball: Valley Central is all business
They emerged from the team bus, forming two straight lines, quietly walking to the field shoulder-to-shoulder with intense stares.
Valley Central looked as much like a military outfit as a softball team when it arrived on Monday to the BAGSAI Complex in Binghamton for its opening game of the state Class AA tournament against Union-Endicott.
Pitcher Jane Pinckney's powerful arm, catcher Tessa Brown's big bat and second baseman Sam Maier's slick glove all played a part in Valley Central's 9-0 win.
However, the Vikings (21-2) also think something else helped them roll Union-Endicott: their Marine-style march.
"I think it shows a lot of intimidation, it shows we mean business," said Maier, a senior. "They know we're serious, we don't mess around."
Added Brown: "You intimidate them from the time you walk in. Two lines, stay together."
While Valley Central's cadence might make MacArthur or Schwartzkopf proud, it likely won't win the Vikings their state quarterfinal against North Rockland at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Minisink Valley in Slate Hill. North Rockland (21-3) received a first-round bye by defeating Roy C. Ketcham 6-2 last Saturday for the Section 1 title.
Still, the two lines have become a source of pride and unity for Valley Central.
"We take pride in how professional and united we look," Pinckney said.
The two single-file lines, the cold stares, have become tradition at Valley Central since coach Frank Jordan took over the program 14 years ago. While playing baseball at East Islip High School in the mid-1980s, his teams walked the same straight lines.
All these years later, Jordan's still a stickler for discipline and detail.
Even his practice schedule is like Giants coach Tom Coughlin. If practice starts at 4 p.m. and you get there at 4, well, you are late.
"More like 3:45 is on time," Jordan said. "At 4, we're not just stretching, we're practicing. It's just something I've passed along to the kids. I like structure and this year, more than any other, I think they are really into it."