Morgan Tesser’s softball season is getting plenty of spectators.
Sure, it’s taking place on empty fields, or in her pool, where she takes big, smooth swings underwater, her quick bat moving in slow motion. There’s a video of her taking hacks in her driveway, or in an empty batting cage, and, at one point, her opponent is a rubber tire anchored on a long, metal tee. That exercise is good for hand strength, she said. Frustration, too.
All the while, the Bellmore JFK junior is being watched by hundreds, and sometimes thousands of people on Twitter. College players have contacted her, she said, as have college coaches. And though she got exposure from her 18-under national travel team, Jersey Intensity, and has been on varsity since eighth grade, junior year is often pivotal for softball players looking to get recruited by major programs.
Tesser is trying to swing and longtoss her way to a shaky sense of normalcy during these uncertain times as the coronavirus pandemic has led to school closures and a spring sports season that remains up in the air. She is texting with her teammates and shooting her videos with her dad, Lawrence. She hits while her boyfriend fields those hits in the outfield – the couple-hundred feet are social-distance acceptable. She practices constantly.
“It’s just been a way for me to get myself out there,” said the third baseman, who dreams of playing in a Division I school in the south. “I feel like more people will start to do it. The first day of this whole thing [when they postponed the spring season], we put out a video and it got 8,000 views. People are just sitting on their phones. I think everyone will start to, now.”
Lawrence Tesser actually started shooting the videos sometime last year, he said. His daughter is talented, but with her height – 5-foot-3 – he wanted to make sure recruiters saw she played bigger than she was. Morgan has stayed positive, he said, but he knows that the postponement – and possible cancelation – of this season is difficult.
“It’s been really disappointing to her,” he said, noting that Bellmore has no junior varsity, and only about a dozen kids on the varsity team. “They were really looking forward to this year because next year, we don’t even know if we’ll have enough kids to field a team.
"My heart really goes out to these kids because some of them, the seniors and juniors, this may be their last chance."
As for Morgan, she’ll keep trying, keep practicing, keep posting, and keep getting those eyes on her swing. After all, as her Twitter feed says: “Social distance = 60 ft.”