Last year, Old Colony softball ran into a force against the seventh-seeded East Bridgewater and fell 13-1. But East Bridgewater has now moved up to Division 2 for this year’s MIAA State Tournament.
And Old Colony (12-6) has learned from the experience. Additionally, while the Cougars await the seeding announcement on June 5, head coach Brandon Mendez is putting in some research so he and his players have an idea of what to expect heading into the postseason.
“We’re a little bit above the middle of the pack of Division 3,” Mendez said. “So we’re hoping for a home game. There are certain Division 3 teams that are loaded. There are some teams at the top that are going to be very hard to beat. In the middle of the pack, there are some teams that are very comparable to us.”
The long layoff is another thing the Cougars have to deal with. They have the State Vocational Tournament in between their last regular season game – a 5-1 win over Southeastern – but even then there’s still the potential for a week without game play. The softball seeding won’t come out until Tuesday, which likely means Old Colony’s first game will be on Thursday.
This is all a result of the early season inclement weather, and Old Colony is one of the few softball programs locally to have everything all wrapped up. So Mendez is doing what he can to ensure his players get some simulated work in addition to the standard practices.
“You couldn’t predict the weather,” Mendez said. “With the state tournament moving the games back … we got lucky, our field is great and we got all our games in on time. We got lucky because I know there are teams out there scrambling to get three or four games in this week. Which is something our athletic director (Matt Trahan) and myself were adamant about playing whenever we could so we didn’t run into that.
“I have a couple calls out, depending on where things lie the rest of this week, early next week, we may match up with someone to get a good co-practice and scrimmage in,” continued Mendez.
This has given the Cougars a chance to ease back in their starting pitcher, Emily Littles, who missed a week, which included two games, due to illness.
“We kind of went slow with her,” Mendez said. “We did have her bat last game, even though she’s normally our No. 3 hitter. So we have taken it slow.”
Littles returned to the mound on Thursday against Southeastern and went the distance, allowing only one run on three hits, while striking out five in the win, No. 11 for her on the year. Littles has also been a force at the plate, hitting .528 out of the third spot in the order for Old Colony. She’s also scored 14 runs and knocked in 13.
She only trailed Hannah L’Heureuxin average (.554) by season’s end. L’Heureux led the team with eight doubles and five triples. She was also third in RBI (21) to Mikayla Murray(22) and Te-Lynn Layton(24), and second in runs scored (28) to Kat Kirby(29). Kirby also led the Cougars with three home runs. She also hit .452.
“They’re excited,” Mendez said about his players. “We kind of talked about it at practice tail end of last week and on Memorial Day. Kind of talked about how it’s a different season, but that we’re still out here to have fun, work hard and put our best effort out there. We actually had a great practice the other day, so it’s very encouraging.”
Meg Hugheshad herself a day at the MIAA East Division 4 track and field championship, winning the 400 meter dash (5.28), winning the 4×400 meter relay with Rachel Fantoni, Lea Bourgeoisand Caroline Murphy(4:07.19), and finishing second in the 1-mile run (5:18.38).
The 4×800 meter relay team – Emma Carroll, Madisen Martin, Samantha Balland Sydney Green– also won at the championship with a 10:03.16 time.
Old Rochester girls’ track and field finished fourth overall at the tournament with 59 points.
On the boys’ side of the meet, Harry Smithfinished third in the 110-meter hurdles (15.37 second)). He was also a part of the second place 4×100 meter relay unit (44.14 seconds), which also included Matt Brogioli, Anthony Childsand Will Garcia.
Old Rochester boys’ track and field finished tied for seventh overall at the tournament with 27 points.
High School Sports Update
By Nick Friar