Mepham's Lily Yepez eager to take on leadership role
For Mepham’s Lily Yepez, the challenge is finding a way to continue her school's recent success.
Mepham has won the last three Nassau Class A championships and the last two Class A Long Island titles, but the wins won’t come as easily this year.
The Pirates graduated eight seniors, including two major contributors in Alanna Morse and Hailey Guerrero, who are now playing at Hofstra and Stony Brook, respectively.
Yepez and Morse shared the Nassau Class A Playoff MVP award last season. The former teammates will reunite next year, as Yepez is committed to Hofstra.
But right now, Yepez is one of three seniors on a team with four eighth-graders and three freshmen. It’s her turn to be Mepham’s leader.
“I started playing with Hailey and Alanna when I was nine, so I’ve always had them to look up to and idolize,” Yepez said. “I want to be that person that the younger girls on our team can look up to and trust.”
It should come easy to Yepez, as Mepham coach Tom Simone describes the centerfielder as a coach on the field.
“We’ve spent a lot of time together, so Lily has a good idea of how I think and how I want people to move,” coach Tom Simone said. “I know I can count on her to get people in the right spots even in the middle of all the chaos that happens during a game.”
Yepez is recovering from a broken hamate in her right wrist that she suffered in a travel game in Florida during February break. She got her cast removed on March 21 and she will be eligible to play this upcoming week, though she won’t rush a return.
When she does return, she’s looking to add a new dimension to her game.
Usually a speedy slap-hitter, Yepez spent the offseason working on her power stroke. She batted .557 with 16 stolen bases and scored 32 runs atop Mepham’s lineup last year.
Yepez will again bat leadoff for the Pirates, but she’s ready to do her own damage.
“I’ve really been working on my swing rather than slapping and changing my mindset from a slapper to a hitter,” Yepez said. “As a slapper, you’re just looking to get on base, but now I’m thinking I need more than a single to do my job.”