When you start out as a developmental program and within five years are knocking on the door of schools like Tottenville, that’s a sure sign of something going right with your program.
"It has been a steady work in progress,” said Construction head coach Marco Migliaccio. “When we started out with the developmental five years ago, we were already playing Class A schools. We won the B and we’ve been improving every year."
And improve they did.
Construction has been on a steady upward curve and last season’s venture into the PSAL Class A semifinals was just part of the natural progression for a program that continues to open eyes.
Last season, the Red Hawks won their first Queens A-II title and nearly made it to the finals before falling to George Washington.
"We exceeded expectations last year,” said junior centerfielder Delana Murray. “It was heartbreaking that we lost, but amazing that we even got that far. The fact that I even got to play on that team was amazing. Now I feel like our goal after making it so far is to just win everything. We want to win it all."
"The expectations were pretty much met last year and that was to be a top three team,” Migliaccio said. “This year we want to be top two. I think that's achievable. Anything below a three seed will be a disappointing year for us."
Migliaccio is confident that last season was only a step in the process. He notes his program’s offseason regimen as a key to their continued success and says that this season was no exception.
"They work hard during the offseason, they have a great weightlifting program that they go through,” Migliaccio said. “Every year has just been better for us. Different girls have come by and replaced the girls that have graduated, so we haven't had too much of a setback. We lost an all-city pitcher in Sheila Sanandres and we gained an all-city pitcher in Britney Rodriguez, so we’ve been good at restocking."
One of Construction’s biggest concerns will be how it maintains its resilience. Rodriguez was the epitome of toughness as she played with a broken finger on her pitching hand for the team’s playoff run.
"She's all about hard work,” Migliaccio said. “Our expectations are that you have to work. No matter how good you are, you have to put the time and the work in. She has a big heart and her performance last season was remarkable. She's healed now and she’s going to have a huge year."
Communication will also be important for the Red Hawks as they as working in a variety of different girls in their lineup.
"We're really working on getting our communication down pat, because that's important to any championship run,” Murray said. “We'll be better than last season, but we have to make sure that the new people this year fit in. For us it's about getting along because if you don't get along outside then you won't get along inside the field."
"Our entire team and specifically our infield is going to have to communicate and make the plays,” added Migliaccio. “Between Alicia [Gonzalez], Linda [Mckernan] and Amy [Pirozek] they're going to have to step up and communicate."
When it comes to players who will immediately take a leap this season, Migliaccio couldn’t help but gush about Pirozek’s progress.
"I think Amy is really going come out and surprise everyone this year,” Migliaccio said. “She's worked really hard this offseason and is going to come out of nowhere. Last year she wasn't a starter, she was in and out. She's going to take over and is going to be our key number five batter in our line-up. She's going to have a monster year."
If last year was any indicator, then Construction is surely knocking on the door and is on its way to being one of the elite softball teams in the city. But despite its rise, Migliaccio acknowledged that to be the best, his team has to beat the best.
"We want to be in the same category as Tottenville,” Migliaccio said. “We were right there last year and those have become our expectations. They're the measuring stick that we like to use, they're the cream of the crop."