Three of the four area softball teams reached the state tournament, led by Bristol Easternâ€™s run to the Class L quarterfinals, St. Paul reaching the Class S quarterfinals and a first-round Class L exit by Bristol Central.
After helping guide the Lancers through perhaps the toughest schedule of area softball teams, six of head coach Scott Redmanâ€™s players lead our 2018-19 All-Press Softball Team, while five St. Paul players earned their way to the honor, and a pair of Bristol Central standouts had special seasons as well.
Lancers ace pitcher Erin Girard is one of the headliners after a third consecutive All-State and all-conference season for the junior. The right-hander made 21 appearances, finishing 15-5 with a 1.91 ERA, 1.29 WHIP with 142 strikeouts and just 33 walks in 117 1/3 innings.
On offense, Eastern was led by fellow All-State selection Zoe Lowe, a sophomore center fielder who slashed .436/.500/.691 with 11 RBI, 20 runs scored and five stolen bases.
Junior leadoff hitter Taylor Keegan, a shortstop, slashed .425/.477/.525 with team highs in hits (34) and runs scored (27) in addition to nine RBI. Keegan was twice named an all-conference selection and already has 100 career hits as a three-year varsity starter.
Senior catcher Paige McLaughlin, one of the team leaders who earned captain status prior to the season, roped 28 hits to finish with a .333 average in addition to a .380 on-base percentage and .429 slugging percentage. She scored 24 runs and recorded 12 RBI. She was a two-time all-conference honoree who finished with more than 100 career hits.
As a junior third baseman, Alyssa Hackling became a huge bat mostly out of the five-hole, where she finished with a .354 batting average along with 28 hits, 10 runs scored and 15 RBI. She also slugged .468 with a .378 on-base percentage.
Alison Tellier, a freshman second baseman, was the Lancersâ€™ cleanup hitter for most of the season, and finished with a team-high 17 RBI in addition to a .329/.367/.521 slash line with 17 runs scored.
â€śI came into the season not expecting to play second base after never playing it before,â€ť Tellier said. â€śI ended up having second as my main position. I started out at the bottom of the lineup and then worked my way up to the four-slot.â€ť
Redman added about his six All-Press selections, which helped the Lancers to the quarterfinals before a 5-3 loss to eventual state champion Masuk: â€śWe had a great season this year, and had a variety of contributors throughout the year. There are no exceptions with the individuals selected. They were key throughout the season and our run in the state tournament.â€ť
St. Paul, meanwhile, went 16-4 to earn a six-seed before falling to third-seeded Holy Cross in the Class S quarterfinals. The Falcons were led by All-State performers Abby Poirot and Jessica Persechino.
Poirot, a senior right-handed pitcher, earned All-State status for the second consecutive season in addition to a second straight All-NVL honor as a captain.
Persechino, a fellow senior captain at shortstop, was a two-time All-NVL honoree as well. Both are headed to college to continue their careers, Poirot at Felician University and Persechino at Saint Anselmâ€™s.
Ava Hampton, a freshman second baseman, exploded onto the scene for the Falcons, with team-highs in home runs (12), RBI (34), stolen bases (10) and total hits (34), in addition to a .611 on-base percentage. Hampton is a projected four-year starter aiming to earn her way to the Division I level.
â€śWe had heard about Ava, and she showed us a lot of what we had heard about,â€ť St. Paul coach Gary Hovhanessian said. â€śWe had heard she was this excellent player coming to St. Paul that we were excited about. You saw it in action, and it was great. I would say she exceeded expectations.â€ť
Junior catcher Katrina Roy formed a solid tandem with Poirot, earning her way to the NVLâ€™s All-Iron team after finishing with a .500 batting average.
â€śThey were like spokes in a wheel. We needed all of them,â€ť Hovhanessian said. â€śYouâ€™ve got the two seniors who have given you four years as starters and were the captains and leaders. Then you have Katrina, who had the highest batting average on the team at the end of the season, who just loves the game.
â€śIt was a great season, but it was almost disappointing because we had even higher goals than that. They would all probably tell you the same thing. Going into the season, they all had very high expectations. But thatâ€™s what we talk about. Thereâ€™s one winner, and everyone else loses. Itâ€™s tough.â€ť
Bristol Central finished the season 11-9 before falling at home in the Class L postseason to Foran in the first round.
The Rams were led by junior starting pitcher Peyton Greger, who finished with a 3.50 ERA in the circle, and at the plate she amassed 24 hits with a .353 average. Greger has earned four all-conference selections in her career, between softball and volleyball, in addition to earning six varsity letters.
Gwen Torreso, the teamâ€™s starting sophomore shortstop, finished with team highs in batting average (.493), total hits (34), RBI (28) and scored 23 runs with four home runs and a .565 on-base percentage.
Greger and Torreso each earned all-conference honors.
â€śBoth Gwen and Peyton are skilled players who continue to improve, mostly due to their dedication to sport and competition,â€ť Bristol Central coach Monica Hayes said. â€śWhether it is on the field or in the classroom, they seem to always succeed.â€ť