Spartan softball plays its way back to respectability

For seniors on the Shepaug Valley High girls' softball team, this spring was close to a revelation.

Following two consecutive disappointing seasons, Bridget McCarthy, Sam Bisignano, Kate DeWitte and Kelly Sullivan contributed to and were able to enjoy a dramatic improvement by coach Steve Picket's diamond crew.

For the numerous younger players who provided much of the impetus to a 10-10 regular season, there's the future... and that future could be bright.

Coach Pickett and Co. took it on the chin, 18-2, Tuesday from Hale-Ray High School in cross-state Moodus in the first round of the state class `S' tournament to close the books on an overall 10-11 campaign for the Region 12 girls.

Still, this season marked the return of Shepaug softball to the competitive level. And with several key players returning for two or three more seasons, there's cause for hope for even better things to come.

"After winning a total of seven games the last two years," reflected coach Pickett, "going 10-10 this year was very good for us."

The veteran Spartan bench boss noted the girls' hitting improved "a lot" and the pitching and defense cntinued to get better.

"If we work at it," he remarked, "and continue to improve and stay healthy, we could do better next year."

Among the girls' highlights this spring were home-and-away sweeps of Litchfield, Wamogo, Gilbert and Housatonic Valley.

Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Johnson and freshman shortstop Giana Johnson earned Berkshire League second-team laurels.

Juniors Mairead Rosa, the Spartans' leftfielder, and catcher Summer Mercier were honorable mention.

Kelsey Johnson posted 10 wins to show for her 133 innings of mound efforts, striking out 111 and walking just 39 along the way.

She also deadlocked Mairead Rosa at 22 for the team's hit leadership.

Giana Johnson paced the team in batting with her lofty .392 norm, in triples with three, in slugging percentage at .627 and on base percentage with .435.

She also shared the lead with Mairead Rosa with 16 RBIs. with Mairead and Allison Drzal with three doubles, and with Mairead with three home runs.

Summer Mercier paced the girls with 18 runs scored and nine walks, while Bridget McCarthy stole seven bases to show the way in that category.

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Norm Cummings

Photography by Norm Cummings