Walpole Softball ended their season last year with a disappointing loss of 16-3 to Bridgewater Raynham in the second round of the MIAA Division 2 State Tournament. However, this spring season, the Rebels have a bright future ahead, with most of their important players returning, and expect to top their record from last year. The girls are led by Coach Jim Duffy and senior Captains Lauren Bodin, Bridget Nicholson, Jess Cochrane, and Sam McChesney. Softball does have an advantage due to experience, with the loss of only one starting senior from last year’s team and 13 returning varsity players.
Concerning the upcoming season, Duffy said, “We hope to improve on hitting against the more difficult pitchers and being more aggressive on the bases than last year. Of course the main goal is to work well as a team, make playoffs, win the division, and take the state championship.” The strong team leadership and pitching will be a factor in how well the team is able to accomplish this goal.
Bodin and Nicholson, who were captains for the Softball team last year, understand their leadership responsibilities. The Rebels also have pitching experience: two starting pitchers have played on this varsity team before. The first is senior Marissa Ryan, who has been pitching for the Rebels since she was a freshman; the other is returning junior, Steph Sem. The team, as a whole, may not be the best hitting team, which is reflected in the dismal amount of hits they had last season. However, there are some consistent players who put up a fight against the harder pitchers, including Nicholson, Bodin, and McChesney. Duffy said, “We will work hard to overcome this weakness.”
The loss of four year starter, Katie Cavaca, will be hard to replace, yet Duffy said, “I see many Cavaca’s on the current roster.” Cavaca was the catcher and occasional second baseman for her entire high school career, so the team will have to get used to the change of her not being a part of every play as catcher. The 13 remaining players will have to step up to fill the void.
As the spring season approaches, the softball team hopes to prove they have the talent and skill to make it further into tournament then they did last year when they lost in the second round. “The main goal is to win the State Championship. After last season’s tournament loss we gained motivation from our experiences and hope to use that for this year,” said Bodin.