Roxbury Softball Coach Jane Ware celebrates 500th win

Roxbury/Gilboa-Conesville softball defeats Margaretville 19-3


ROXBURY- The Roxbury Gilboa Conesville  girls varsity softball team defeated the Margaretville Blue Devils 19-3, Thursday, March 28. The victory was a milestone for Roxbury Coach Jane Ware who celebrated her 500th career win.

Roxbury Gilboa Conesville pitcher Mikayla Wright threw 10 strikeouts. Bailey Hughes went 2-for-2 at the plate with one RBI; Caitlyn Ciaravino went 3-for-2 at the plate with one RBI; Olivia Ross went 2-for-1 at the plate with one RBI, and Mikayla Wright went 2-for-1 at the plate with two RBIs.

Margaretville pitcher Livia Froncowiak struck out four batters; Alyssa Maggio scored two runs.

Because it was their season opener and because this is the first time the merged team has played together, it took them a minute to get things started, Ware said. Bailey Hughes’ triple sparked a hitting streak that resulted in the victory.

The merger, a result of low participation numbers from both Gilboa-Conesville and Roxbury came with a few challenges, Ware said; among them playing alongside your biggest rival. Roxbury and Gilboa-Conesville have been competing at the top of the league for years, Ware said.

Gilboa-Conesville and Roxbury school districts are both Class D schools in the Delaware League. A Class D school is designated by having 150 students in grades 9 through 11, Ware explained, and both Roxbury and Gilboa-Conesville have about 50 students in those grades - boys and girls. To field a softball team you need 10 players, she further explained, and combined with a small enrollment and other activities competing for student’s time, a merger was necessary to keep the softball program going, she said.

Ware has been coaching for over 40 years. She started with a youth softball program at Spencer/VanEtten, where she coached for a few years until taking a position as a physical education teacher at Roxbury Central School in 1982. She taught physical education for 21 years, and with a special interest in computers, became the school’s computer coordinator and eventually obtained a second Master’s Degree in computer instruction and taught in that position for 10 years.

Before coaching, Ware was a player, mostly outfield, “but every once in a while first base, and catcher for slow-pitch,” she said. She played on a summer touring team which competed in national play and while in college played two years of basketball and four years for volleyball.

A lot of things have changed in high school sports over the years and a notable change in softball has been pitching styles. When she started coaching at Roxbury, she said, pitchers used a figure eight pitch. Then pitchers started using a “sling shot” pitch and now use a “windmill” pitch, which is currently developing. “The pitching alone has changed immensely,” she said.

She continues to coach, Ware said, because she loves the game, she loves the kids and loves seeing what sports do for student athletes. It makes them well-rounded people, she said. “Every single kids gets a piece of my heart,” Ware said. Watching them play and grow is rewarding, she said.

Attending the March 28 game were Ware’s family members who traveled from Chicago, Boston and Ithaca, in addition to former players. “I saw players I haven’t seen in years,” she said overwhelmed with the kindness and support showered on her at the game. Many of her current players are second generation kids, she said. “I’ve coached their mothers,” she said with both pride and acknowledgment at the length of her career.

She is looking forward to developing the softball program and the merged team with assistant coaches Allie Case, Brenda Hill and Peter Meehan, alongside co-coach Dan McGlynn.