St. Paul has had a number of standout athletes this past spring season and two of them, members of the class of 2019, are our Athlete of the Week picks for area high school sports. They are softball pitcher Abby Poirot and golfer Ryne Salius.
Poirot, the daughter of James and Lois Poirot of Winsted, is an All-State and all-conference pick for her play this season. The Falcons went 19-4 overall, losing to Holy Cross 7-3 in the Class S state quarterfinals on Saturday.
Her head coach, Gary Hovhanessian, praised her play.
“The word determination comes to mind when I think of Abby Poirot,” Hovhanessian said. “Abby patiently waited in the wings to get her turn in the pitching circle. Our goal as coaches is to well-round these players and give them opportunities to play a position that they might play at the next level if they’re not pitching on a regular basis. Abby played third base, first base and then settled in last year as our left fielder. Always working hard in practice, Abby made a diving catch in left center field last year to seal our semifinal win in the state tournament against Coventry and send us to the state finals for the first time in the history of St. Paul Catholic.”
He went on to note that Poirot has pitched most games this season, but not all, due to busy weeks making up for rain-cancelled games. She dug in during the tournament with her pitching and recorded 17 strikeouts in eight innings against Somers. With three hits to help her own cause in that win, her batting average went over .550.
“Abby’s work ethic and determination has been a coach’s dream and will be at the next level.” Hovhanessian said.
Poirot has another year of scholastic softball left, as well as cross country.
“Compared to last year, our defense wasn’t as strong, but we were getting better each day,” Poirot said of her team. “We were definitely a lot closer this year as a team, and the one thing that didn’t change was that we didn’t give up in our games. The girls who replaced last year’s seniors have stepped up and have done absolutely great.”
She enjoys being on the mound.
“I love throwing hard and striking out people,” Poirot said. “I love getting people out with my change-up. I love how intense softball is and I love the pressure.”
Poirot started playing softball in third grade and first took to the mound in sixth grade. Besides St. Paul, she also plays for CT Mirage Gold 2K.
“It’s definitely made me more confident in myself,” Poirot said. “It’s made me recognize leadership. It’s also shown me how to be a good teammate and to support others.”
Besides being All-State, Poirot has been chosen, along with teammate Jessica Persechino, to play in the CIAC Junior All-Star Showcase game.
Salius, the son of Chris and Tina Salius of Torrington, is having another solid season for St. Paul. He defended his city golf championship title and finished second in the NVL tournament.
St. Paul coach John Odell praised his most accomplished player.
“He led his team to a 16-2 record this season,” Odell said. “He’s a co-captain with a great work ethic in practice and is a true gentleman of the game. He’s going into the state tournament with the second best par rating in the NVL at 5.8. He’s easy to coach and works hard at improving his game.”
In last week’s city championship, St. Paul won as a team with 356 points at Pequabuck Golf Club. Salius had the medalist round, an 81, five strokes lower than his closest rival.
“It was the best we played by far,” Salius said. “We shot 165 on the front nine. We’ve never shot that well since I’ve been here, so it was awesome. My front nine was pretty good. I shot a 39. The back nine got me again, every time I play it. The back nine is a lot harder.”
Salius then talked about the NVL tournament, which took place May 31. Salius shot an 82 to tie for second and St. Paul finished third as a team.
“We played at Watertown, which is the hardest course we’ve played, in my opinion,” Salius said. “The greens were extremely fast. My score could have been lower, but it could have been worse.”
The state tournament was held yesterday at Timberlin in Berlin, a course Salius recalled playing earlier.
“I played it this year in a two-man tournament,” Salius said. “I didn’t play there very well. I don’t remember too much about it. We’re ranked 10th right now and it would be nice to do well and move up in the ranking.”
He added that he was looking forward to the states, because two of his friends from Winsted, Dylan Keith and Conor Bailey, would also be competing.
Asked about his best round ever, he said that it took place on a course in Massachusetts, and that he has shot two below par on two occasions.
His college plans are playing golf and studying either business or sports management.
Contact Bob Montgomery at or by calling 860-973-1808.