Nothin’ Soft About It

Meet the last Athlete of the Issue of the 2022-2023 school year, but certainly not the least, Caitlin Wong!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Cover Image
By Hepzibah Srithas

Name: Caitlin Wong 

Grade: 12th Grade 

Height: 5’6”

Hair Color: Black 

Eye Color: Black 

Date of Birth: January 2, 2005

When and how did you start playing softball? How long have you been on the Renegades, Stuyvesant’s varsity softball team?

I started in my freshman year because Coach [Vincent] Miller tried to recruit all the basketball players, and I’ve been on the Renegades for four years. So softball was a completely new sport.

What position do you play? What skills/strengths are involved? 

I play wherever Coach needs me. But for the most part, I play second base now. You just have to be very aware and very ready to move because you could be standing there for 30 minutes and not doing anything, and then the next second a ball could be hit straight toward your face, so you just have to be ready. It is really fun, because it’s just like: surprise and ahh!

Do you have a most memorable moment with the Renegades?

Last season was really fun around this time. We would hang out after practice a lot and go on adventures. So it wasn’t a specific moment really, just a general time. Late May, or early June of 2022. 

What are the key differences between baseball and softball?

From what I have gathered, and again this is a new sport for me so I only know what Miller has taught me, but the ball is different. And don’t be surprised when you get hit by a softball. It’s not actually soft because it’s actually so hard. It leaves bruises. Anyways, in softball, you use metal bats, but in baseball, you use wooden bats. The pitching is different; you pitch underhand in softball. In baseball, you can take leads before the pitcher pitches, but in softball, if you’re off the base before the pitcher pitches, you’re out. So you can only leave while they’re in motion. And finally, the field is smaller.

Do you have any plans to continue the sport in the future or in college? 

Possibly. I know that my college has a softball club, not an actual varsity team. But I enjoy playing basketball more, no shade to softball, so if I get the chance to play a sport in college it would probably be basketball. 

Do you have any pregame superstitions or rituals?

Kind of. We bought new jerseys this year, and I really don’t like them. So, I wear my jersey from freshman year. We’ve gone through three jerseys, but for some reason, I can only play well in my freshman jersey. I also have a specific helmet that I need to wear; it’s the one that has a highlighter mark at the back of it because I put the mark there. And there are specific bats that I use, but I feel like that’s less superstition and more strategy. 

Do you have a specific pitching routine?

I tend to move very fast. I remember there was one game where we were losing, and basically, you either end the game getting mercied, where the point differential is so big that they say, “Okay fine, you win,” or you play the whole seven innings, or the time runs out. The time was getting very close to running out, so I had to move the game along very quickly. So I pitched two innings. One inning was probably less than a minute and 30 seconds because I was throwing them out really, really quick. I feel that out of all the pitchers on the team, I have the least ritual, but I’m just trying to get the pitches out really, really quick. 

What is your jersey number? What made you decide that number? 

My jersey number is zero. I wear zero for all my sports, for all my teams. In sixth grade, the only jersey number left was number four, but in Chinese culture, the number four is unlucky because it sounds like death. The only other number left was zero, and I thought it would be cool to have zero for the rest of my athletic career. And no one ever picks zero, and it’s the number that comes first, before one.

What are the best and worst parts of softball?

My favorite part of softball is base running because you get to be witty, and you get to piss off the people on the other team. You just have to catch them off guard, they get really mad at you, and they try to throw you out but they can’t because you’re too fast. My other sports are very intense, and you have to be moving all the time. So I guess my least favorite part is there is a lot of time for you to get distracted. If you’re in the outfield, you probably won’t see a ball the whole game, and it’s hard to stay focused.

Rate the season out of 10. How was it? What were the highlights? 

8/10. This was my only serious season of softball. Freshman year we only had preseason. The day before we were supposed to have a game, COVID happened. Then, sophomore year, we did have a season during the summer because they did a special summer thing, but we didn’t play any games—it was just friends having practice. Then, last year, we played in the A division because they got rid of the AA division to recover from COVID, so we played teams that we were blowing out by 30. So this season was the only one where we had real competition consistently. Challenging ourselves was really fun, especially after winning really close games. One particular game that I remember was where it was the last inning and we needed to get one more out to win, and someone fell off the ball and she took her helmet off and threw everything to the ground and caught it behind the home base. It was really cool, and it was the first really close game that we won, and that’s when I knew that our season would be really successful. 

Funniest Teammate: Charlotte Sternbach

Favorite Softball Player: Vincent Miller (Over40 Sunday League Player)

Favorite Professional Athlete: Ilona Maher

Bat Brand: Ghost Bat

Favorite Team: The Renegades 

Playing on Full or Light Stomach: Medium 

Favorite Sports Drink: Light Blue Gatorade 

Favorite Post-Game Meal: Shake Shack

Favorite Hobby: Sleeping, playing guitar 

If You Could Play One Other Sport: Rugby 

Motto to Live By: Winning is everything.

Fun Fact: I am an ordained minister.