A trio of “divas” — Molly Herbold, Megan Montalto, and Lauren Dempsey, Rye High students and members of the City Divas, a team that plays out of the Bronx — recently returned from the Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Regional Softball Championships in Mount Olive, New Jersey.
By Jeff Dempsey
A trio of “divas” — Molly Herbold, Megan Montalto, and Lauren Dempsey, Rye High students and members of the City Divas, a team that plays out of the Bronx — recently returned from the Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Regional Softball Championships in Mount Olive, New Jersey. The three Rye High were part of the 14U team that represented the Metropolitan New York Section, which includes Westchester, New York City, and Long Island.
Herbold’s pitching led the Divas throughout the spring and summer. Nine teams competed in the 14U Regional Championships for the chance to advance to Nationals. The Divas 16U Team also made it to Regionals, where they advanced to the championship game.
The Tournament opened with ceremonies at TD Bank Park, the home stadium of the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League. The Divas had a tough draw, but all of the teams in the tournament were very talented.
In their first game, the Divas drew New Milford, representing North Jersey, who went on to win the Mid-Atlantic Championships.
Next up was Buena, the South Jersey Champions, followed by Brooklyn, the New York State Metro Champions. The Brooklyn Team narrowly beat the Divas by one run during the Metropolitan New York Championships.
During the previous high school season, Herbold was one of two pitchers on the Garnets varsity team. Montalto was a catcher and Dempsey played first and third base on the JV team. The three girls played those same positions for the Divas in the tournament.
Despite the heat, which was in the mid-90s every day, the players also put in a few innings at additional positions, with Montalto at shortstop and Dempsey roaming the outfield. Herbold gutted it out, pitching in all three games.
While the girls missed a few days of their summer jobs — and one missed part of her family vacation — they felt it was well worth it for a chance to compete against some of the top teams in the country. They enjoyed traveling with the team, spending time in the hotel, celebrating a teammate’s birthday, and just hanging out with the other girls.
“I love playing with the Divas,” said Montalto. “The team is energetic and supportive.”
The Rye teens also learned some Spanish from their Bronx teammates. Although the girls are from different backgrounds, the team has great camaraderie. “Even though we didn’t make it that far, it was a great experience and I learned so much from these girls,” said Herbold. “None of us quit and we played to our fullest. The coaches were amazing, too.”
In the fall, the three girls, along with several others from Rye, play for the Port Chester Ravens. Dempsey and Herbold will be sophomores at Rye High this fall and Montalto a freshman.
Based upon the success of the season and growing interest, the girls are thinking about forming a team in Rye next summer.