BRISTOL - The Bristol Eastern softball team finally snapped its losing streak against Bristol Central on Monday with a 3-0 victory and one of the players that stood out for the Lancers was catcher and No. 9 hitter Paige McLaughlin.
The sophomore caught pitcher Erin Girard’s one-hit complete game, which featured 11 strikeouts of which three ended on a called third strike. While Girard had her best stuff going against her team’s biggest rival, Bristol Eastern coach Scott Redman thought McLaughlin had at least a little bit to do with the pitching success.
“Paige did a heck of a job as the backstop, calling a great game, framing pitches and giving a good look to the umpires,” he said. “She gets a lot of credit.”
While her coach clearly thought very highly of her work behind the plate, McLaughlin modestly diverted all the credit to Girard.
“I don’t really do much behind the plate. Erin’s the one doing most of the work,” she said. “She hits all her spots. She’s really great on the mound and she’s got a great defense behind her to back her up.”
McLaughlin also picked up an assist on an out, throwing to third to pick off the Rams’ Xia’ian Carrasco at third base after Girard’s only walk to end the third inning.
She was one of the top defensive players for Bristol Eastern but McLaughlin was arguably the most successful Lancer on offense on Monday. In three plate appearances, she recorded three hits and, in the seventh inning, scored the Lancers’ third run. The only thing missing from her stat line was an RBI but she led off the seventh and was the only Bristol Eastern player to get on base in the fourth.
“She did it all,” Redman said. “[She] laid down a beautiful bunt to get on the first time. She had a really nice game [Monday].”
McLaughlin has been in the bottom half of the lineup all season so for her, Monday’s success on offense was exciting.
“It’s pretty great,” she said with a smile. “I haven’t been hitting that well this season so it felt good to be able to get some hits and score for our team.”
The bottom of the order has been a weak point of late for Bristol Eastern so Redman was just as happy to get three hits from McLaughlin.
“The top of the order has been really carrying us. So to get some contributions from the bottom of the lineup was huge,” he said. “Getting Nicole [D’Amato] back helps in the middle of the lineup so everybody kind of ticks down a little bit. Paige did some work on some good pitches. We’ll take it.”
This is just McLaughlin’s sophomore season and she is already having an impact, which bodes well for the future. And, according to Redman, a big reason for why she’s had so much success is her character on and off the field.
“She’s a great athlete [and a] relentless worker. She’s a stud in the classroom as well,” he said. “She’s super involved, a three-sport athlete. She might be a sophomore but she certainly doesn’t play like it or act like it. She’s a super mature kid who gets it, gets the big picture and is a relentless worker. She’s just a great kid.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @K_baum30