Juilliard Softball Clinches Title

Juilliard's newly beefed-up softball team dominated its league this year and took home the championship.

 (Photo by Bärli Nugent (BM '76, MM '77, flute))

On a sultry evening in late August, two teams—rivals over the course of the 2014 season—gathered at the well-lit, impeccably-manicured, yet faintly sewage-smelling ball field in Riverbank State Park. The goal: taking home the first-ever Arts Division championship in the City-Stars Softball League. The competition, as you might expect from athletic teams representing a conservatory and an art museum, was intense.


It had been quite a season for the blue-and-gold-clad Juilliard team: we had won eight games and lost just three, which was particularly sweet after the dismal previous year (just one legit win). Unfortunately, two of the three games we had lost this season were against the very team we were playing that night, the dread Guggenheim Museum squad.

Things did not look good for quite a while on championship night. Guggenheim scored five runs in the first four innings, shutting down Juilliard’s bats and catching everything we hit. But then Juilliard plated five runs to tie the game in the fifth. The museum fighters came back with a vengeance and took two more runs, which meant we had to score at least three more in the final (seventh) inning. 

And then, in the most exciting rally of the season, Juilliard scored five runs to lead 10-7 going into the bottom of the inning. Three outs away from the championship, the Juilliard defense took the field with poised intensity, keeping the museum quiet for the final three outs and solidifying Juilliard’s win of not only the game, but the season. 

What made this comeback possible? Captain emeritus James Gregg chalked it up to the creation of an arts division in the softball league, noting that just playing against the likes of the Manhattan School, the Whitney, and the Intrepid as opposed to also facing to ringer-studded teams of lawyers and bankers was key to Juilliard’s competitiveness. “Now we’re on an even playing field with others of like talent,” he said. Plus strong recruiting meant that we had the luxury of 12 to 20 players each game—a seasoned returning lineup was joined by an avid rookie bench.

And while we did score the championship trophy, the season was about (spoiler alert!) more than just competing. Newcomer Matthew Way said that over the course of the season, “the experience changed from being just about winning to being about seeing my ‘new’ friends and supporting them to do their best. And winning.” Rookie Paul Beck commented that he now chats with “a dozen new people around the building that I wouldn’t have ever met outside the softball diamond. And now all of them know exactly what an orchestra librarian does all day long, too.”

But of course the season was about winning, too, and at the ecstatic end-of-season party, league commissioner Angel Tossas presented us with the inaugural arts-division trophy. The trophy is currently on a tour of triumph—spending one week in the office area of each team member. So now the only question is: Where will it be permanently displayed?

The Roster
Alex Almonte (I.T.)
Jen Awe (Student Affairs)
J. B. Barricklo (Production Management)
Paul Beck (Orchestra Library)
Nathan Cabana (Concert Office)
Ally Combs (Properties Shop)
Kate Dale (Properties Shop)
Johnny Dinzey (Maintenance)
Justin Elie (Scene Shop)
Kathryn Falato (Development)
Stephanie Gatton (Development)
Rich Girtain (Scene Shop)
James Gregg (Drama)
Josh Hackett (Properties Shop)
Amanita Heird (Development)
Ben Johnson (Electrics Shop)
Andy Knapp (Electrics Shop)
Merrin Lazyan (Drama)
Adam Meyer (Dean’s Office)
Katie Murtha (Development)
Jeremy Pinquist (I.T.)
Brent Radeke (Development)
Jonathan Raymond (Development)
Max Raynolds (Scene Shop)
Jon Rosenhein (Finance)
Rob Ross (Orchestra)
Tricia Ross (Special Projects)
Josh Sturman (Scene Shop)
Matthew Way (Development)
Matthew White (Mailroom)



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