Varsity softball team adjusts to coach departure


Photo credit: Rebecca Peterschick

Francie Wallack (’25), Malia Apor (’24), Tony Flores and Maddie Beaubaire (’25) pose together after their last game of the season. Coach Flores has been coaching the Archer varsity softball team for almost four years.

By Ella Schwartz, Managing Editor

The varsity softball team received an email from their former assistant coach Ashley Aurilio Monday, April 10, stating she would no longer be coaching the team.

Coaches and players did not receive prior notice of her resignation, and some players said it was unexpected.

Aurilio started as the assistant coach of the team in late January when the season began. The two remaining coaches, coach Tony Flores and coach Rebecca Peterschick, now lead the team.  The middle school softball coach, Samantha Dillard, is also stepping up to lead the pitchers. 

In Aurilio’s email, she wrote to the team that she was upset she would no longer return but had to focus on her company and a new puppy.

Director of Athletics Kim Smith said she had previously met with Aurilio to discuss her resignation and supported her decision. Though Smith was sad to see her go, she said that the team is still fully equipped with three “amazing coaches.”

“We have an amazing softball staff with multiple coaches,” Smith said. “We have our head coach, Coach Tony Flores, who leads the program and then we also have Coach Rebecca, who’s a specialized coach, then we have our middle school softball coach who works with the pitchers. We’re gonna be just fine.”

Upper school softball pitchers have been gaining extra training with the help of middle school softball coach Samantha Dillard. Smith said it is important that all Archer coaches dedicate their full time and attention to their teams, and that dedication is what keeps sports teams flowing. 

“For our coaches, we’d like them to be able to fully devote their time,” Smith said. “She wanted to be able to be fully present and didn’t feel like she could do so, and so she made a personal decision to step away.”

Sophomore Maddie Beaubaire has been on the upper school softball team for two years. Beaubaire said she was upset about Aurilio’s leave and that the team would probably not be the same without her.

“She was the one coach who brought us snacks on the first game. She was very supportive. She sat with us in the dugout and led meditations before a game,” Beaubaire said. “Not having her at our recent game was weird. She was a new part of the team that we were finally getting used to, and then she just left.”

Beaubaire said she supports the decision Aurilio made to resignnoting the importance of dedication. 

“I’d rather her had made a decision to commit either softball or her camp before our season had started,” Beaubaire said. “Coach Tony comes at lunchtime to set up and is very dedicated. I hoped that’s what Coach Ash would have been able to do.”

Flores has been the head softball coach for almost four years. He said he is not worried about Aurilio’s resignation because last year he was the sole coach of the Archer team.

“I love working with the girls. I’m just working extra hard right now,” Flores said. “There is extra work that these girls don’t even see. I’m doing softball [planning] from the time I wake up. I’ve always been used to [a lot of work]. I always enjoy it, too.”

Flores and Peterschick carpool six hours round trip each day to coach softball for Archer. Flores said the team’s “great group of young ladies” makes the drive worth it.

“I love being here. This is a special community,” Flores said. “This is the best place I have ever been. All the faculty, from the athletic director to the head of the school, shows me their support. It makes it easy to coach when you got people having your back.”

Flores said softball is not just about the games. He plays music during practices to inspire hard work and fun.

“We want to try to make it fun. I tell them their safe place is the softball field,” Flores said. “I know Archer’s academics are demanding. So the softball field is there to get rid of all that stress. I’ll do anything to make it fun for my girls.”