Dupree Makes Key Contributions to Easties’ Historic Season
It can be stressful when you’re counted on as impact player for two different teams, but junior Arielle Dupree tackles that challenge by displaying a great work ethic as a member of East Haven’s softball and girls’ basketball programs. After getting off to a slow start on the softball field this spring, Arielle found her groove at the plate and played a big role in helping the Yellowjackets capture their first SCC championship.
Arielle’s passion for softball and basketball began at a young age and has continued through high school, including a stint with the DiamondZone softball team on the AAU circuit. At first, basketball seemed to be the strongest of Arielle’s two sports, but she enjoyed playing both of them and decided to keep herself active throughout the school year.
Arielle also had to deal with the adjustments that come with moving to a new town. After moving from West Haven to East Haven, Arielle found herself in a completely new environment. However, even when she was doubted, Arielle knew that she wanted to play softball for the Yellowjackets no matter the circumstance.
“During the transition through middle school, there was a strong motivation to play softball, because I first tried out and didn’t make it,” says Arielle. “It just made me want to push harder and continue to play.”
Arielle was constantly battling the feelings of doubt during the early stages of her softball career. There were times when she struggled, but Arielle mustered up the courage to keep pushing and continue working toward her goals.
“My freshman season, I was just ready to play with the high school and just have new relations with new people during the season,” Arielle says. “Even one of the seniors I was playing with encouraged me to keep playing, and that’s when I started putting my time into it.”
Arielle entered her junior season aiming to be a key player for the East Haven softball team. Arielle’s main goal was to do as much as she could to help the Yellowjackets enjoy a successful campaign as the team’s left fielder.
“I did my part as a teammate. I’m not really focused on myself,” says Arielle. “I just made sure that I contributed to the team as a whole.”
Arielle’s focus on being a team player proved a tremendous help to the East Haven softball squad this spring. The Yellowjackets claimed the SCC Oronoque Division title, won the SCC Tournament for the first time, and then advanced to the Class L state quarterfinals on their way to a program-best record of 23-3.
Head Coach Ed Crisafi says that Arielle’s performance was instrumental in helping the Yellowjackets claim their conference crown.
“Arielle has made herself the type player she is through her great work ethic in practice. She has become one of the best left fielders in the SCC with great range and a great, accurate arm,” Crisafi says. “I’m really looking for her to having a breakout senior year.”
Arielle finished her junior year with 11 RBI and also hit 2 home runs for the Easties. Arielle feels proud of her own growth throughout the season, but is even happier about the fact that the Yellowjackets grew as a group while making history.
“I think we played really well as a team. For us to be young, we went really far, and I’m glad that we stuck it out,” says Arielle. “I’m really proud of people.”
Arielle is excited about taking on the responsibilities that come with being a senior next season. Arielle is ready to lead the Easties and wants serve as a role model who her teammates can follow. Arielle also wants to do her part to make sure that the Yellowjackets continue being a dominant program in their conference.
“I want to lead our team, with the great season we had this year, just to continue the legacy of East Haven softball being a strong program,” Arielle says. “I really want to represent them in the best way possible.”
Arielle is looking forward to reuniting with a group of teammates who she considers her family in her senior year. Arielle says that she’s found a home as a member of the East Haven softball team.
“We really feel like family. I just get to have a fun time, and I just feel comfortable being around everybody,” says Arielle. “It’s like home.”