- Fairport Softball Youth Clinic - March 23rd 3-6 pm
- Raiders softball earns #NYPHSAA Scholar/Athlete Team award.
JV and Varsity Players and Parents meet in the auditorium at Fairport High School at 6:30 pm, Tuesday, March 12th. JV and Varsity will meet with coaches immediately following in cafeteria C. Varsity will talk about the spring trip.
For a printable document go to Forms > Printable Documents
Booster Club Meeting Dates
Fairport Softball Booster Club will meet at 7 pm
Fairport High School room 110
on the following Tuesdays
Hope to see you there!
October 9, 2018
November 13, 2018
January 8, 2019
February 12, 2019 CANCELLED due to weather
March 12, 2019
April 9, 2019
May 14, 2019
June 11, 2019
Take your can and bottle returns to Can Kings 1276 Fairport Rd btwn Baird and Jefferson Ave
Tell them to apply your returns to The Fairport Softball Booster Club! They'll donate an extra penny per can if you go on the 6th of the month.
Tiny and Mighty
"Whatever it takes" Zoe White Ready for Raiders
Goose droppings rarely make for magical softball memories.
The ones Zoe White stepped in while playing Fairport Little League haven't exactly been bronzed on her bedroom trophy shelf, but they also have not faded from her memories of why softball is the sport for her.
"The game can be like that. You play where you need to, you do what you have to; when you step in it, you wipe if off your cleats and you keep doing your best," said White, who begins her first full season as a varsity outfielder with coach Curt Johnson's team.
“It’s the kind of thing some have told me may not be seen by my peers, but it’s what I do. Whatever needs to be done,” White said.
Like pinch running in a sectional game after getting called up from JV for the post season. Such was the case last year for Zoe, who joined four other sophomores in the late-season call up.
“That was fun, being around the team. Doing whatever needed to be done.”
It’s the junior’s idea of leadership she looks forward to lending to a squad of 19 in pursuit of a sectional title.
“I can’t throw the hardest and I may not hit the farthest. But I know the game and I love learning the new things we are learning with Coach Johnson, with the footwork and the thinking ahead in situations,” White said. “Hopefully the whole team realizes there is a role, no matter how big or how small, for each of us.”
And with a coach on record as saying he will apply any player’s strength to make the team better, White and the others could see opportunities arrive. Zoe prefers to just focus on her commitment to each softball assignment she's given.
"Adults recognize work ethic and the amount of passion someone puts into it. Even working at Wegmans, my managers tell me how I work hard and am great to be around. So I’m just glad people do recognize that."
Zoe has played nearly every sport, from gymnastics and soccer (she played while living in Hawaii) to karate (orange belt.) But softball, she says, spoke to her.
"Communication is a key part of the game, and I find it’s easier to communicate with everyone at all times, solve the problem or realize other situations can occur. Like in math. And it's easier to get involved when you know people are supportive and always communicating."
Zoe earned plenty of playing time on her modified and JV teams. Her travel ball experience since last fall has helped her think the game faster.
"It’s a a game of communication. You’re never out there on your own even when it feels like you are. The team game of it works for me. You can think on every pitch, whether you’re in right field or on the bench. I’m someone who constantly needs to be doing something. My Mom got me involved because she needed me to be engaged so she could do what she needed to do. Softball turned out to be the best experience. And it helped us have this really strong bond together. My Mom and I are always together in softball.”
White will compete for playing time in the Raider outfield with at least several other juniors and returning varsity starters Julia Egan and co-captain Maddie Sehnert.
Though just a shade under 5"3", Zoe’s stature has never kept her from enjoying her experience in the game.
"I'm still a tiny person, but I'm like an ant: tiny, but mighty."
And committed to being healthy and fit. Should she not receive steady playing time, Zoe is prepared to work hard and build her strength and fitness levels during Raider practices.
"I want to do anything for the team. All we want is that brick. And if I can help us do that, then I will."nd if I can help us do that, then I will."
"Never Seen A Dude Throw Like A Girl"
JV Coach, Alum Skalicky Teaching Raiders How To Fire It
Stacy (Kuwick) Skalicky pitching the Raiders to victory in 2009.
Softball players can play well beyond their glory days. Adult leagues keep men and women on the diamond from ages 18-80.
"There is a demeanor you have to carry on to that field that helps you keep strong. You’re teammates are going to look at you. If you’re down, they’re going to get down. That’s an experience built thing. It's why pitchers need to get in as many innings as you can, as many experiences. There’s no crying in softball. You can’t let your emotions get to you. My dad would say `you can always cry in the car on the ride home.'"
Coaching Fairport's JV is, for Skalicky, a chance to reconnect with the game, as it's played by young women.
“I was really excited that things are going so smoothly. I’m learning so much from (varsity coach ) Curt Johnson. The things he does and the way that he does them are great. I look forward to working with the pitchers with the pitchers with the same thing I did every day."
Cleary Wants Raiders To Know Championship Feeling
(Raiders varsity coach Curt Johnson with first-time assistant MacKenzie Cleary .)
Chaos comes suddenly when you work where MacKenzie Cleary has worked.
Finding focus, working with your team for the best outcome, and doing both for the betterment of others, has helped the 2013 Fairport alum find success.
It worked when she was one of the best pitchers in Greater Rochester’s high school ranks. It works now in her role as a behavior tech at the ARC of Monroe.
As the Raider’s new varsity assistant softball coach, she will work to show Fairport’s diamond ladies how applying both can bring the best results.
“They want a Sectional title. They work hard and they’re getting the hang of the things Curt (Johnson) is introducing,” said Cleary. “As a coach, I would like the girls to just confide in us and feel we have their back. I want them to accomplish their goals. And that’s what I hope happens.”
Helping others comes naturally to Cleary, who found her passion for service at The ARC of Monroe last summer. She applied her Psychology degree from University at Albany first as a direct support staffer, assisting the agency’s adult clients. She knew the job was for her after she left it for two weeks to work in the county’s social service department.
“I went back to the ARC to pick up my last check there and a client came up to me running yelling `Kenzie, you’re back.’ It brought me to tears. Later that day, I asked my old boss if I could come back and it worked out.”
What the 23-year old likes best about the work is dealing with a client when they’re experiencing what’s known as a “behavior;” which can be anything from a psychiatric disturbance to a challenging manifestation of a person’s intellectual and developmental disability.
“I work in a behavioral room (at the ARC) and everyone has challenging behaviors. I like it. I like the challenge of working together when the person has a behavior, then with my co-workers to determine the best response,” Cleary said. “It’s chaotic. I think that’s why I like it so much.”
Cleary kept calm in the chaos of the pitchers circle as a Raider. The four-year varsity player earned All Greater Rochester honors each season while running up a 41-17 record and a 1.99 ERA with 357 strikeouts. Her pitching lead Fairport to three Section V Class AA titles> She earned MVP honors in each championship tournament.
She carved out a career .500 average with 19 home runs, 132 RBIs, and a .898 slugging percentage.
“High school softball was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. Winning championships was the best feeling. I want these girls to feel what I felt. That’s one reason I’m coaching. I want them to know what it feels like,” said Cleary.
“As cliché as it sounds, I feel blessed. My teams had success. And I got to play Division I softball.”
Cleary played her freshman season at St. John’s, then transferred to the University at Albany. She earned Second Team All-Conference honors in her final two springs. She batted .321 with five RBIs, three doubles, and one home run. As the Great Danes starting first baseman, Cleary led her team with 123 putouts and a .949 fielding percentage.
MacKenzie also earned All Academic honors as a student athlete.
“You had to be all in for all the workouts, the practices. If you weren’t, it was mentally exhausting. It shaped me into the person I am today. Being so focused. You gain so many life skills from being a Division 1 athlete. It’s made my work ethic what it is. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for sports.”
Most of this year’s Varsity and JV Raiders aren’t aware of Cleary’s accomplishments. Some have asked if she played, and where, but haven’t had a sense of her contributions to the program.
“That’s no big deal I want people to know me for who I am, not because I just played softball. I’m around them and I feel so old. Except for a few camps where I coached, I’ve never been around kids this age before. But I like it,” Clear said.
In her first two months around the 2018 edition of Fairport softball, Cleary sees plenty of talent. She works with Johnson and the infield during fielding drills and also observes the pitchers.” It's not the first time the two have worked together. Johnson coached Cleary during her high school years on the Battery Lightning travel team.
“I’ve pitched at their level, nothing more. I can help them with the mental part of it, being determined. We’ll help them understand why it’s best for everyone to work together, to stay together as a team.“
Especially when, inevitably, chaos comes; whether in the middle of a game, in the middle of the season or when the game’s on the line.
“That’s how they’re going to get it done,” Cleary said. “I think they’ve got it.”
Coach Curt Johnson Ready To Get Raiders Rolling
Kids may change. Sports don't.
Sure, rules evolve; a pitching rubber may move back a few feet from one year to another. Player substitution and batting order regulations can change from week to week. One field may have a fence, another doesn't.
But Fairport varsity softball coach Curt Johnson sees any sport he coaches in simple terms with staying power: know the situation. Know your job. Do it as well as you can. Shake off mistakes and keep playing hard after you make them.
"This game's not easy for some young people. When someone strikes out, everyone knows. A line drive out can be a good at-bat. A ball gets by a player, everyone sees it," said Coach. "We work hard to help them understand that the game is a thinking game."
Johnson will gather his first Raider varsity team together when tryouts for Fairport softball begin March 5th. Three days of tryouts will lead to the final roster. Though he's coached teenagers the game for more than 20 years, it will be the first time in more than a decade he'll get to run his team through practices on a daily basis.
"In travel, you have kids who will travel an hour and a half two hours to get to practice. The team arrives from all points. And you get them every two weeks or once a week," Coach said. "I'm looking forward to getting started. Because I enjoy practice time. Working on stuff we don’t work on every day. The offensive situational stuff. Our calls."
When asked what he looks for in a player, Johnson responds,"sanity." Translation: players who want to be there; on the field for practice and on the field when given an opportunity in games. People who like the game and want to play it. Every day.
"Obviously kids in sports, they want to be there. They want individual attention (from the coach) to learn."
And when Johnson is addressing his teams, he expects them to listen and be on point.
"I go back to when I was at Brockport, when our new AD arrived, and I was the coach, he came in and said 'these kids are different.' And I said, sports doesn’t change. The discipline and structure of sports don’t change. They always provide the best way for young people to learn a game. Look at the Patriots. Does Bill Bellichek allow his players to check their cell phones when he's introducing the game plan. Successful programs, teams, they focus. That’s the expectation."
In each of his opportunities to be with players this winter; at open gym sessions and at his Fairport Skills Clinic, Johnson coached footwork and mechanics. Not every repetition includes every player throwing the ball. Infielders hop as a pitch is released. Feet are aligned toward the target. Bare hands pick up slow rolling grounders and bunts. They're methods Johnson has learned from studying the game with top coaches from across the country.
Considering his team will practice twice as much as they play games this spring, Coach will introduce diverse practices each session.
"They get their water breaks, but every minute is planned. Keep an eye on the clicks. Warmups at the start of practice, they’re not going to warm up with the same person. Change it up with somebody new."
As for offense, Johnson believes varsity players arrive with the swings that are theirs. He leaves private hitting instructors to form them with the player and rarely tries to change them.
"If you hit ground balls and you're successful, that's great. If you're hitting home runs, line drives. If you're slapping and you're successful, then that's the way for you."
Half of the eight returning Raider seniors and three prospective juniors vying for varsity roster spots are familiar with Johnson's practices, having taken part in the travel program Coach helps run.
"We're excited the season's finally here. It'll be good to get into a rhythm with our group."
It's All In The Placement
Sophomore Chloe Humphrey Excited to Make Softball Memories
It's only an inch difference. But as she crouches behind home plate, catcher Chloe Humphrey knows when her pitcher may have an advantage.
"If the batter is up in the box, it doesn't have to be much farther up in the box than the last pitch, it can mean the difference between a fastball or curveball," said Chloe, a 10-grader ready for her second season on the varsity.
"I like the intricacies of the game. I love to talk about it, learn about the game. That's one of the fun things about being a catcher. It's the little things. When I first started, softball was just something that I did. Now, it's something I want to do all the time."
Chloe was the only freshman to earn a varsity letter with the Raiders in 2017. She enjoyed two starting catcher assignments early in the season, against Victor and Mercy. She admits the experience was great and, a bit overwhelming. Chloe was thankful the returning varsity players helped her get used to the top team.
"I had never played softball at that level before in my life and I was so lucky to play with so many amazing players and against so many great ones, too. I liked how everyone was welcoming and made the experience a good one for me."
Chloe plays travel ball and trains when high school ball is not in season. Her coach happens to be one of the lead coaches for the Raiders' main rival, and defending Sectional champion, Victor.
"We have a great time together training, but we tell each other that on those two days in the Spring, we don't like each other," Chloe laughs.
A top student, Chloe is challenging herself with honors Chemistry and Math courses: two fields of study where the exact nature of things matters. Just like behind home plate.
"I can't wait to get started this year and make some amazing memories with everyone on the team."
Fairport Pitching Great, SU Product Skalicky Named Fairport JV Coach
Fairport's School Board approved the hiring of all-time great Red Raider pitcher Stacy Skalicky to be Fairport's new JV softball coach.
Skalicky, formerly Stacy Kuwik is a Fairport Class of 2009 grad. She rewrote the Red Raider pitching records when she was in the circle for coach Amie Carr's championship teams. Skalicky led Fairport to three Section V titles including in 2008, when she pitched a 19 strikeout, three hit victory over Webster Schroeder in the Class AAA title game. She was named to the New York Class AA All-State First Team as a senior and was two-time third-team all-state Honoree. She led the team to its first Western Regional win and first New York State Championship title game appearance. Skalicky earned 2009 Democrat & Chronicle All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year honors and three-time Division I Player of the Year and four-time Monroe All-County First Team selection . In her senior year, she Posted a 22-3 record with 309 strikeouts, seven no-hitters, a perfect game and a 0.20 ERA. She also led the team with a .561 batting average, 46 RBI, 29 extra base hits, eight home runs and six stolen bases during her senior campaign.
After her Red Raider career, Skalicky pitched for Syracuse University.
Skalicky complied a 60-25 record in her first four seasons with the Orange.
Skalicky works as a software engineer at Harris Corporation. She will join coach Curt Johnson for Fairport softball tryouts March 5th.
She's the second Red Raider alum to join the coaching staff since Johnson was named varsity coach to succeed Carr. Mackenzie Cleary (Fairport 2013) will join Johnson as an assistant varsity coach.
New Raider Coach Old School and New School
Old school. New school.
Some coaches believe you have to be one or the other.
Fairport’s new softball coach may be both.
Curt Johnson will be incorporating modern methods of communicating to his softball team during games when the West Irondequoit native, SUNY Brockport grad and longtime local softball coach guides the Raiders in 2018. But Johnson, who’s always attended coaching clinics and enjoys learning about new things in the game, said while the game will keep evolving, the fundamentals of the game will be how his student athletes experience the game first at Fairport.
“It still goes back to throwing, receiving, ground balls, fly balls. Fundamentals that we will work consistently at,” said Johnson, who was named the Raider varsity softball coach December 19th.
Johnson plans to install wristband cards for pitching and color cards for defensive calls for the Raiders varsity and JV teams.
“We’ve seen that it (wristbands) reduce communication breakdowns between coach and catcher and catcher and pitcher,” said Johnson, who said all defensive players in the lineup for the two squads will wear the wristbands. “It helps fielders know what pitch is coming, which helps them prepare the next pitch.”
The wristband system calls for the coach to announce from the dugout a three or four-digit number that players find on the card. The number will correspond with a pitch thrown by the pitcher. Johnson’s color coding system will speak to the position of fielders.
Johnson says he is also not averse to adding fundamentals from baseball that would benefit his Raiders teams. “
“If there’s a fundamental in that game that can apply to our game, we’re going to try it out, and if it works, we’ll apply it in a game. Some coaches say that can’t be. I’ve found some can,” said Johnson.
Johnson has crafted his approach to the game through his recent years of instructing softball for players whose families are interested in seeing their children play at the college level. Johnson is lead instructor for the UNY Revolution, formerly the Battery Lightning. Six returning varsity players and several JV and Modified A players are familiar with Johnson and his focus on fundamentals, including footwork and hand and glove work.
"In the end, it's about players being engaged. We will go through practices and work on these fundamentals. We have a plan to keep kids working hard, and constantly, so they don't become disengaged with practice," said Johnson, who looks forward to having daily workouts during the season, instead of the single, weekly workouts his travel teams hold.
"In those teams, you have girls coming from long ways away and so you can't get together as often. Here everyone's in the same community. And we will keep them engaged. That's up to me and my staff and the people who will lead those practices."
Johnson expects to oversee his first open gym session January 8th.
“We’re looking forward to getting started.”