WEST HARTFORD – Coming off a rough season, the Northwest Catholic softball team is in position to make a run at the postseason.
The Indians were just 4-16 a season ago, but have already notched five wins this season (5-5) after an 11-10 victory over New Britain on Monday.
Northwest Catholic started the season 3-1 before dropping four straight. The Indians have rebounded to win their last two games and are three wins from a Class M state tourney berth.
The Indians lost just one senior from last years’s club and are still relatively young, but they are getting strong leadership from senior captains Kelly Shannon and Alisha Collazo.
Shannon and Collazo have started since they were freshmen and helped coach Kate Mayer’s club go 16-4 and set a school record for wins. That past success made last season particularly hard and made returning to states this year a must.
“Not making it into the tournament for the first time since I’ve been coaching here was difficult last year,” Mayer said. “Kelly and Alisha aren’t leaving here without eight wins to qualify for the tournament, I promised them that .”
The leadership and offensive punch provided by Shannon and Collazo has been huge for the Indians, who boast a talented but youthful lineup.
“This year we are just as young if not younger than last season,” Mayer said. “It has been a challenging start for such a young squad. We are making improvements on offense, working on getting our timing down with the pitching along with our aggressiveness and speed on the base paths.”
The Indians have three freshmen in the everyday lineup which makes the fact that they are hitting .350 as a team with five players over .400 all the more impressive.
Junior Sabrina Carrera, sophomore Kathleen Yorio and Freshman Maggie Hoffman have posted impressive numbers so far for Northwest Catholic, which is averaging 7.7 runs a game and has been getting clutch hits from up and down the lineup while not leaving many runners stranded on the bases.
While the offense has been impressive the Indians are still looking for the same type of performance in the field and that has been a work in progress. Northwest Catholic has committed 54 errors in 10 games.
“At this point we still don’t have a consistent starting nine on the field,” Mayer said. “We keep moving girls around to different spots trying to fill the holes. If we gel together more on defense and restore some fundamentals, eventually we will come together. Our game plan is always one game at a time, minimize mental and physical errors, stay strong with the sticks, and don’t give up.”
Mayer feels the team’s pitching is consistent with sophmore Lucia Baressi throwing strikes and not walking many batters. Her battery mate, senior Captain Alisha Collazo is hitting over .400 with 13 RBI’s and has five pick off’s from her catchers spot.
“With three freshman and three sophomores in the starting line up we are bound to have a lot of errors, but we play scrappy, and don’t give up when we are down,” Mayer said. “We are the underdogs and we love it.”