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Telecom Girls Softball plans to conquer PSAL A Division

April 3, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Susan Gutekunst has Telecom off to a hot start this year, and the Yellowjackets’ team captain is hoping this is the season they finally win the A division title. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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The Telecommunication Arts and Technology Yellowjackets are off to a hot start this season as they have won their first four games and they’re beating teams by an average score of 15-2 while doing it.

They didn’t necessarily expect it to be this way. Telecom lost five seniors from last year’s team and have just two seniors and one junior on a very young squad this time around. However, they are quickly realizing that this group could be even better than last year’s team that was eliminated in the Public School Athletic League’s quarterfinals.

“At the beginning of the year I didn’t have as much confidence in the team as I do now,” said sophomore shortstop Thalia Santiago. “But we’re really getting along well; we’re working hard together. We’re turning into a real team.”

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A few of the Yellowjackets explained that despite the uncertainty in the roster, what helps them keep improving is their head coach Glenn McCartney, who is currently in his ninth year running the program.

“I can’t run, I can’t hit, I can’t pitch so I certainly can’t take all of the credit here,” McCartney joked.

When McCartney took over the Yellowjackets, they were good, but they were a B division team that wasn’t considered a high-end program. He quickly took them to the B division championship, where they lost, but he got back there again and won it in 2011. Telecom was then promoted to the A division where it took them just two seasons to beat out Madison High School, a local softball powerhouse, for the best record in Brooklyn.

So far, McCartney has not been able to get the girls to the A division championship, but the pieces are in place for a serious run this season.

McCartney said the biggest reason why this team has potential to be a special one is his captain, senior Susan Gutekunst. Gutekunst is hitting an amazing .900 so far this year and is a game-changing catcher behind the plate, but perhaps her best trait is as of a coach on the field.

“Oh Susan,” Santiago laughed when asked about Gutekunst. “She’s very uptight about things. If she wasn’t uptight about things, we wouldn’t play the way we do though. At practice she’s serious, during games she’s serious and when she’s behind the plate she’s really aggressive.”

If Gutekunst sounds like an authoritarian on the field, she’s not. She can be very serious, but she knows how to laugh at herself too, and, along with McCartney, they have created an atmosphere at Telecom that really seems to motivate the girls. It certainly helped that the first time McCartney ordered the girls to, “watch how Susan does it,” she fell flat on her face.

That atmosphere has allowed other girls to thrive as well. Santiago has already become a leader on the team as a sophomore and Susan’s sister, sophomore Kristen Gutekunst, is turning into one of the top players in the borough along with freshman Ashley Sclafani.

Santiago is Telecom’s top pitcher, but she has a lot of help in the form of sophomores Laila Melendez and Jessica Ariza.

“When I first started out nobody wanted to scrimmage us,” McCartney said. “Then you improve a bit and everybody starts calling you to scrimmage, your name gets bigger, then you start getting invited to tournaments. Now Tele is actually thought of as one of the best and the girls want to be a part of that.

“We’re hoping to be the best team in Brooklyn again this year and the only thing left is to win a city championship.”

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