New coach seeks to grow program and develop players

Bennett Gross

After five seasons under Head Coach Joe Aranda, the athletic department has hired Claire Rietmann-Grout as the new softball program head. Prior to coaching at Harvard-Westlake, Rietmann-Grout played college softball at Towson University and coached for four years at Immaculate Heart High School.

“Coaching here is an incredible opportunity. We have the best support staff, players who want to succeed and work hard, and beautiful facilities,” Rietmann-Grout said. “The weight room specifically sold me.”

Head of Athletics Terry Barnum made the decision to hire Rietmann-Grout as the program head when Aranda announced his retirement after last season. Barnum said the Athletic Department was fortunate to be able to make the position a full-time job, and the school was great in terms of dedicating more resources to make the change possible.

“We wanted to find a coach that could bring some energy to our program, was excited about softball, and had an extensive softball background. Coach Rietmann-Grout fit all of those categories,” Barnum said.

Rietmann-Grout says she wants to create a softball culture that people in Southern California want to come to.

To accomplish this, her on-the-field goals for the team are to work hard, make a name for the themselves and win games. Off the field, she wants the team to do group community service and other team-bonding activities to help chemistry within the squad, she said.

As a coach, Rietmann-Grout is interested in the process and not the results.

“I tend to be the type of coach where I’m not outcome oriented,” she said. “I love to win, but really my goal is about the process of building this program and building players. If my players step onto the field and give 100 percent every day, we’ll be successful.”

The team will be without last year’s star pitcher Chloe Pendergast ’13, who is currently pitching at Cornell. Maddy Kaplan ’14, Jessica Johnston ’14 and Molly Steinberg ’14, all returning veterans, are looking to lead the Wolverines to CIF during their senior season. Next year, Kaplan will play at Harvard University while Johnston will play for the University of California at Santa Barbara. The team also has four freshman that Kaplan says are doing well at practice.