Anytime Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern face off against one another on a ballfield, itâ€™s always a game to take in.
Last Wednesday the schoolâ€™s baseball and softball teams played one another and the winning pitchers were the Lancersâ€™ Jagger Duquette and Erin Girard, our Athlete of the Week picks for area scholastic sports.
Girard, a sophomore and the daughter of Caroline and John Girard, has been the starting pitcher for coach Scott Redman since last year and this is her second time receiving AOW recognition.
She struck out a dozen batters and allowed just two runs in a 7-2 victory over the visiting Rams. She added a two-run triple in the fourth inning to aid her own cause in raising Bristol Easternâ€™s record to 9-2 on the season. Â
Her pitching statistics for this season are 78 innings, 26 runs,12 earned runs, 65 hits, 85 strikeouts, 1.08 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and batters have a .215 average against her. On the offensive side, sheâ€™s 12-for-36 for an average of .333, with six RBI, four doubles, four walks and five strikeouts.
â€śErin is truly dedicated to her craft and passion of pitching,â€ť Redman said. â€śShe has done a fantastic job of limiting very high quality teams and giving us chances to win. Erin thrives on pressure and the opportunity to compete against the best of the best.
â€śShe has also been critical on the offensive side of the ball, contributing in key times against those high quality opponents. She has the chance to develop into a dominant pitcher and is motivated to improve day in and day out.â€ť
The Lancers are coming off an 18-3 season and early exit in last yearâ€™s Class L tournament play.
â€śFor such a young team, we are doing extremely well [this year],â€ť Girard said. â€śWe have a solid defense across the field, and strong hitters up and down the lineup. Weâ€™re not perfect, but we have learned how to pick each other up and move on to the next play. Two of our team goals are to win the conference and make it to the states. So far, we have won enough games to qualify for the states â€¦ next is winning the conference.â€ť
Her personal goals are to continue getting better and eventually pitching in college.
â€śSome of my personal goals this season are to limit the amount of walks, hits and runs per game,â€ť Girard said. â€śAnother goal of mine is to improve my mental half of the game. I know I still have a lot of room for improvement, and I am working hard to get there.
â€śComing into the season I knew the schedule was going to be tougher. I love the challenge of harder teams and better batters.â€ť Â
Girard, who is also in the school band, concentrates on softball as her sport. She started with Bristol Girls Little League Softball as an 8-year-old and joined the Connecticut Eliminators at age 11, a team she remains with outside of school. She also pitched at Northeast Middle School for two years.
â€śMy favorite part [of the sport] is being in control of the game,â€ť Girard said. â€śAt the same time, I know that I have a strong defense behind me to lean on.â€ť
Duquette, a junior, is the son of Jen and Mark Duquette. He pitched 6â…” innings, allowing five hits, one earned run and two walks, while fanning nine batters in the Lancersâ€™ 3-2 win over the Rams at Muzzy Field, helping lift his teamâ€™s record to 8-5. The Lancers had been down 2-0 before scoring three times in the sixth inning.
Duquette carries a 4-1 record with an ERA of 1.73 and has allowed just 19 hits in 28â…“ innings of work. He has struck out 30 batters, while walking 12.
His coach, Mike Giovinazzo, praised his leading hurler.
â€śJagger has been our most consistent pitcher all season,â€ť Giovinazzo said. â€śHe has excellent command of four different pitches. His teammates and coaches have confidence that he will always keep his team in the game. He is smart, competitive and has a good grasp on the finer points of baseball.â€ť
Duquette recalled the Central game.
â€śI felt good early in the game and in the second inning, when we gave up two runs, I said we have to start playing because itâ€™s a close game,â€ť Duquette said. â€śThen I saw each inning I was putting up zeroes and [Bristol Central pitcher] Steve Warkoski was putting up zeroes. Later, when we started hitting, I came out confident in the sixth inning.â€ť
Overall this season, which is just over the halfway mark, things are going fine for Eastern, according to Duquette.
â€śI think weâ€™ve been playing very well,â€ť Duquette said. â€śAnd when I think everything is meshing, offense, defense and pitching, weâ€™re hard to beat. We already made it to the state tournament with our eighth win, which Iâ€™m happy with. Iâ€™d like to see a few more wins so we can have a home field advantage in the tournament.â€ť
And like Girard, he hopes to play in college and enjoys pitching because he likes to have some control of a game.
â€śI like that when things are going right, I can see if itâ€™s me,â€ť Duquette said. â€śI like my own tempo of the game.â€ť
He praised his head coach.
â€śI think heâ€™s been doing a good job for us this season and heâ€™s been coaching for a long time,â€ť Duquette said. â€śHe keeps us very motivated and heâ€™s upfront. He tells us what to work on and what we can get better at. He doesnâ€™t keep it hidden.â€ť
Contact Bob Montgomery at or by calling 860-973-1808.