Swampscott softball hopes for postseason return

Swampscott senior softball co-captain Sam Rizzo is very excited and a little melancholy as she and her teammates prepare for the 2015 season. Rizzo has been a member of the softball, soccer and basketball teams since her freshman year. This will be her 12th and final Big Blue sports season.
?Yes, it?s a little sad,” she said. “This is it for me. (I?ve had) so much fun, so many memories. On the other hand, I cannot wait for the snow to get out of here so we can play. We need to do whatever we have to do to win: small ball, great pitching, defense, whatever we have to do.”
Rizzo will be counted on to be one of the leaders again this season.
?Sam is an outstanding athlete, an outstanding student, and an outstanding person, a great leader,” said coach Frank Kowalski. “I?m certainly going to miss her next year. I think the whole school will miss her. Hopefully, we can put things together and make this a season to remember for Sam and everybody.”
The Big Blue will open at home on April 8 against Danvers. Last year?s team finished 12-9, upsetting North Reading in the Division 2 North playoffs before falling to Arlington Catholic.
?We did lose some very good players, key players. (But) we have a very solid group of players coming back: Hannah Leahy, Casey Kennedy, Olivia Cooke, Christina King, Rikki Rooklin and Olivia Capone,” Rizzo said. “I think we are going to being very good offensively. We have some big bats, and we have some speed if we need to play small ball, bunting, stealing and grinding out the runs.”
Rizzo will be at shortstop when sophomore Leahy is on the mound, and Leahy will move to shortstop when Rizzo takes the hill. King, a junior, will be at third base and will also play outfield.
?We are a very young team,and I think we are going to see a lot from those younger girls this year,” King said. “I think things will definitely come together for us. We?re going to have a smaller team, numbers-wise than last year. That?s fine. We have a lot of really good (players) on the team.”Swampscott has made tournament for the past five years, and Kowalski said the girls know what it takes to win.?I am incredibly excited about this year,” he said. “I love who I have coming back for this team. I like the excitement this team is going to bring. Most of these kids know my system. They?re smart kids, good players, good kids, young and old. I think we?re going to do very well this year.”

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