PHOTO BY SCOTT EISEN
Tori Adams from Lynn Classical throws the ball around during practice.
By MIKE ALONGI
After earning a low seed and making an early exit in last year’s Division 1 North softball tournament, the Lynn Classical Rams are back with more experience in 2017 and appear ready to make a run. Classical coach Erica Richard has a host of core players returning to key positions on the field this year, giving the Rams a chance to improve on the mistakes of last year.
“Last year, we were still trying to figure things out,” said Richard, now in her third year at the helm. “We only had one upperclassmen in the infield last year, and this year we have every infield player returning. With that plus some experience in the outfield and some solid pitching, I think we can have a very successful season.”
The Rams went 11-10 last season, good enough for the No. 16 seed in the Division 1 North tournament. They were handed an early exit by Northeastern Conference foe, 17th-seeded Beverly, in the preliminary round, 3-2. The Rams lost on a fluky double play in the midst of a seventh-inning rally.
This year’s infield will be led by senior captain Alaina Gridley, who is coming off a very good season at first base. Not only will Gridley provide the composure and leadership necessary on the field, but Richard knows that Gridley is also the perfect person to lead the way off the field.
“She’s obviously a great player and that’s huge for us, but she’s really a great person to have leading the girls in general,” Richard said. “She did a great job with it last year as a junior captain, and I think her added experience will only help her and the team this season.”
As far as the outfield is concerned, it is senior Emma DeJoie who will be the steady veteran presence leading the way.
“With the infield having so much experience playing together, it will be nice to have Emma in the outfield to help the less experienced players who will be out there with her,” Richard said.
Also playing a key role for the Rams this season will be the pitcher-catcher battery of juniors Meghan Leavitt and Tori Adams. Leavitt is coming off a monster season both behind the plate and in the batter’s box, while Adams is now in her third year in the circle at the varsity level and continues to improve her game over time. But the real key, as is the case with any battery, is that the two work together so well.
“This is their third year together now, so they really know each other on the field,” said Richard. “They already work really well together, so it’ll be exciting to see what they can do out on the field this year.”
Spring has officially sprung for Classical softball, as the team held its first practice of the year on Monday afternoon in the Classical gym. That gives the Rams exactly three weeks to prepare for the season opener, which will take place on April 10 at Somerville.