Bristol Press Athletes of the Week are Bristol Eastern's Erin Girard and Bristol Central's Adam Ward

Published on Monday, 6 May 2019 21:08


Anytime teams from Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern face one another it’s a big thing, regardless of the sport and win-loss records. This was the case last week when the golf and softball teams from the schools met. And in many cases, the star of such match-ups gets to be an Athlete of the Week pick.

Thus, it’s junior Erin Girard of the Bristol Eastern softball team and senior Adam Ward of the Bristol Central boys golf team earning the honor this week.

Girard, the daughter of Caroline and John Girard, tossed a one-hitter with one walk and 12 strikeouts in a 6-0 win over the Rams at Casey Field on Wednesday, raising the two-time All-State pitcher’s record to 8-1 at that point.

Last week’s performance gave her three “AOW” nods in three seasons.

“Erin lives and breathes softball,” Eastern coach Scott Redman said. “She plays year-round and will never put down the bat and ball for too long. She works very hard at her craft and has excelled as a result. This year she has truly impressed me with her maturity and leadership. We were fortunate to have many returning players back this year, but Erin’s ability to balance her drive to succeed with enjoying the people around her and the game she has played for so long has helped contribute once again to a successful season.

Girard was proud of her teammates for the Central victory.

“I was really proud of how the team did,” Girard said. “We were quiet with our bats for a few innings and then we did really well moving runners and putting them into scoring position. I also feel we were strong defensively.”

Coming into this week, the Lancers carried a record of 9-2 and last year they went 15-5 overall while 1-1 in the state tournament.

“We have a lot of returnees this year, so we have mostly juniors and sophomores,” Girard said. “I feel we have good chemistry and work together, so we contribute in our own ways. Right now, our goal is to go pretty far in the states.”

In getting to be an All-State player at the high school level, Girard began in Little League, she recalls, at either 7 or 8 years old.

“It was with coach-pitch and that’s when the coaches pitch to you,” Girard said. “I skipped up to the major leagues and joined with the CT Eliminators at age 12 and I’m still with the team. It’s out of Cromwell and the players are from all over the state.”

Ward, the son of Diane and Kevin Ward, won medalist honors a week ago today when Bristol Eastern nipped his Bristol Central Rams by a score of 223-228.

Ward, the team captain, did all he could in the loss by beating his closest rival by seven strokes in the nine-hole competition.

“The scores were a little higher than everyone would have liked,” Ward said. “Coming into the match, I was prepared to battle with [Eastern’s] Drew [Fries]. He always plays there and shoots good scores at Chippanee. I played well overall for the standards, but had trouble reading the greens and there was wetness.”

Rams coach Tim Barrette said, “Adam Ward is what every coach dreams about when they think ‘captain’ of their respective team. He demonstrates leadership, sacrifice, hard work, and determination in everything he does. He is a leader inside of school, as well as in the community.”

The community-mindedness comes from both of his grandfathers. One of them is retired businessman Morrie Laviero, who was the initial and continuing force behind the building of the new Boys & Girls Club in town. His other grandfather, Art Ward, served as mayor of Bristol on multiple occasions.

“He has worked so hard in golf to become the player he is today,” Barrette said. “He spends seven days a week either practicing, playing or working at a golf course. We have built a great coach-player relationship that I am positive will last at least beyond his years at Bristol Central.”

The team record coming into this week is 2-3 and Ward and his teammates hope to get over .500. Last season, they shared the CCC South conference title with both Maloney and Middletown in with a 6-2 league record, 10-6 overall.

“Our goal was to repeat, but I don’t think it’ll happen because we have a young team,” Adam Ward said. “Our goal this year is to bring down our scores each day. There are a lot of new golfers.”

His personal goal is to win medalist honors in the city meet and to earn all-conference honors, both which are doable.

“I started at a young age with my grandfather, Morrie Laviero, because he was a member of Chippanee.” Ward said. “He just wanted to get me into the game of golf and I love it. I like how it’s like wrestling [which he also has done for the Rams]. It’s just you who controls your destiny. There’s no one to blame but yourself.”

Ward plans to attend the University of Alabama. He’ll study biology and will likely play club golf at the school.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Athletes of the Week, Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern on Monday, 6 May 2019 21:08. Updated: Monday, 6 May 2019 21:11.