In a new segment called “Getting to Know,” Barrington Suburban Life will regularly profile a Barrington High School coach or athlete. This week, contributor Tim Sieck sat down with softball coach Perry Peterson who just completed his 22nd season coaching the Fillies.
Sieck: Why did you decide to coach softball?
Peterson: My sister Pam played competitive softball growing up. Back then, the game was slow-pitch softball until fast pitch took over in high school. With my background going to Pam’s games, I asked the Prospect freshman softball coach Bruce Bazsali if I could help him coach the freshman softball team at Prospect in the spring of 1986. He accepted, and so began my humble coaching career.
Sieck: What has changed the most in high school softball since you started coaching?
Peterson: The biggest change has been the change to the pitching distance from 40 feet to 43 feet. That has made our game more offensive in nature where scoring runs is easier and scoring lots of them is one of the greatest keys to success.
Sieck: Who have been your mentors?
Peterson: My mentors were Bruce Bazsali, physical education teacher and head softball coach in the late 1980s at Prospect High School; Gary Lagesse, head softball coach of the three-time state champions at Thornwood High School; and Ken Grams, hall of fame coach at Elk Grove High School.
Sieck: Barrington softball is one of the best programs in the state. Why is it so successful?
Peterson: The program is consistently good due to the commitment of the players and their families. Being successful at anything in life is never easy. It takes tremendous effort and dedication to common goals that brings groups of girls together to succeed as one unit.
Sieck: What advice would you give young future Fillies on what it takes to succeed in Barrington softball?
Peterson: Younger Fillies softball players must develop the passion to compete. The game continues to be a challenging one, so finding a true desire for improvement and personal development is critical for each girl who has aspirations to play varsity softball some day.
Sieck: In your 23 years of coaching, is there one game that stands out?
Peterson: One game that stands out was in my first season at BHS when we won the state quarterfinal game at the IHSA state finals vs. Oak Park 3-2. We were heavy underdogs. Just kept pushing onward and came up with a big hit late in the game and a defensive catcher pickoff in the seventh inning to seal the victory.
Sieck: Although your season ended June 9, the summer season is right around the corner. For the fans in the community who might not be aware of the summer league, can you explain what it is, when you play games and how they can give support?
Peterson: The summer season runs during the months of June and July for our 18U Barrington Hurricanes and 16U Barrington Typhoons, all students from Barrington High School. Each team plays every weekend at a variety of tournaments. The older girls travel to two events in Colorado which they tend to share as the highlight of their summer. The community can support our teams with their attendance at our Tuesday night and Wednesday night home games at the school’s Fields of Dreams complex. Game times every Tuesday and Wednesday are at 6 p.m. for the doubleheader.