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Yankee killer Schilling pays a visit

Team among 20 competing for Miss Shen

Sunday, July 29, 2012
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Ex-big league pitcher Curt Schilling runs a fielding drill with the girls softball team he coaches, the Mass Drifters, on Saturday at a Miss Shen softball tournament at Clifton Commons. Inset, Schilling hangs out with Red Sox fan Kelly Fisher, 16, left, and Phillies fan Jordyn Simmons, 17. The girls, who both live in Henrietta, were on the Rochester Lady Lions softball team. (Gazette photos by Jeff Wilkin)
Ex-big league pitcher Curt Schilling runs a fielding drill with the girls softball team he coaches, the Mass Drifters, on Saturday at a Miss Shen softball tournament at Clifton Commons. Inset, Schilling hangs out with Red Sox fan Kelly Fisher, 16, left, and Phillies fan Jordyn Simmons, 17. The girls, who both live in Henrietta, were on the Rochester Lady Lions softball team. (Gazette photos by Jeff Wilkin)

— Two of Curt Schilling’s baseball teams are having rough years.

The Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox, two clubs Schilling pitched to glory, are both way down in the National and American league standings, respectively.

A third team is doing much better. The Mass Drifters, a girls softball team from the Taunton and Bridgewater sections of Massachusetts, has won more than 30 games. The Drifters “Navy” squad, which Schilling coaches, along with Dan Zucco and Steve Korotsky, was one of 20 teams that participated in Saturday’s “Miss Shen Invitational” tournament for teenage players at Clifton Commons in Clifton Park.

The 45-year-old Schilling, dressed in the team’s navy and orange colors, hit ground balls to members of his team before the Drifters played the Capital Region’s Warning Track Heat Black team.

“Right through the wickets,” Schilling said, as one of the grounders went between a girl’s ankles. “Down. Remember — get that glove down.”

“Take two and go to center,” he said to his team. One of the girls, Schilling’s daughter Gabriella, made her plays. “Out to center,” Schilling said. “Hustle.”

“I’ve got an incredible group of girls,” Schilling said earlier, as he watched one of the morning games. “They love each other, they like being around each other.”

He loves the coaching job. “I can teach them how to play the game,” he said, adding that Gabriella, 15, is just coming back from a shoulder injury. He said there’s more to the job than just batting and fielding tips. “This is as much about teaching them how to be young adults as it is about softball,” he said.

The major leagues — Schilling helped the Red Sox win the World Series in both 2004 and 2007 — are now just a nice memory. He last pitched in the majors in 2007 and officially retired in 2009. “Don’t miss anything about it,” he said of his former job. “Well, the paycheck.”

It sounds like Schilling doesn’t miss the New York Yankees, either. One of the tournament umpires approached and said hello. “Even though I’m a New York Yankees fan,” the umpire said.

Schilling smiled. “We all have our crosses to bear,” he said.

 
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