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PHOTO BY WPI ATHLETICS
Revere native Lindsay Gurska has built a stellar career on the diamond at WPI.
By JOSHUA KUMMINS
Last season was a special one for Revere’s Lindsay Gurska and the WPI softball team.
The Engineers won the New England Women’s & Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship and took back-to-back games from then-defending national champion Tufts to open the NCAA Tournament. Only a pair of one-run losses to rival MIT separated them from the College World Series.
It was a season for the ages as WPI finished 38-9, but Gurska ― as a senior and second-year captain ― wants to go out on a high note.
“We had a really great season last year, and we really do hope to repeat as NEWMAC champions and to be able to pass the hurdle of getting past the Super Regional after we were really close last year,” Gurska said. “I’m just really focused on having fun and enjoying this year because it is the last time I get to step on the field and play softball.”
Like the team as a whole, Gurska had a special season in 2016, earning NEWMAC Player of the Year honors after posting a .388 average with a team-high seven home runs and 46 RBI, 59 hits and 37 runs scored.
Gurska was one of three Engineers listed among the Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Player of Year Top 50 on March 10. The team’s primary starting catcher, Gurska is hitting .226 with four RBI and five runs through 10 games this season.
Her numbers this season may not jump off the page as they did in the past, but the team’s return north will be about Gurska taking off the pressure.
“The biggest thing I’m going to have to continue to work on is taking the pressure off of myself,” Gurska said. “After a season like that, the only person who is setting high expectations for me is myself. I know the team and coaching staff believe in me, so as long as I believe in me, the goals that I want to attain on a personal level will be.
“Playing not to prove anything to anyone, but just playing to have fun, will allow me to have success.”
As an upperclassman, Gurska also knows her role. Last season, she played in all 47 games and her 152 at-bats ranked second on the team.
“I’m embracing the role that I’ve been given,” Gurska said. “I know that I’m going to be the starting catcher for the majority of the games, and if not catching I’ll be in the offensive lineup.”
The team stands at 5-5, but that record comes after playing a significantly harder Florida schedule, including games against a pair of nationally-ranked foes in No. 2 St. John Fisher and No. 15 Coe.
New England teams generally find success in time during the spring season. Head coach Whitney Goldstein believes that will happen for Gurska, although it’s not all about the numbers.
“We’ve just started the journey. We will grow to the goals that we want, but you don’t sprint to get there,” Goldstein said. “Lindsay is one of the better examples in our program of continuously getting better each year. Maybe her stats don’t show some of the things she’s capable of at the moment, but I said to her the other day, ‘You know? Your sophomore year started off worse than this, and you finished just fine.’”
Again, it’s just about playing loose and having fun.
“She’s a great leader, no matter what,” Goldstein said. “That’s the biggest thing I said to her. ‘You just have to have fun; you’re a senior. We all believe in you. … She’s someone that has the skills and conviction to lead her teammates and have them believe in the greater good of the team.”
Playing a sport at such a prestigious academic institution means some long days and nights, but Gurska wouldn’t trade her experiences for anything.
While the Engineers look to get the ball rolling again when play is scheduled to resume later this week, Gurska recently finalized her post-graduation, post-softball plans.
“I officially decided I’ll be enrolling at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (in New York) in their graduate program for biomedical sciences,” Gurska said.
Talk about taking the pressure off. Hitting with the bases loaded must be a piece of cake now.
Names and notes
- St. Mary’s graduate Jennie Mucciarone of North Reading scored a three-pointer in her six minutes of action in the Tufts women’s basketball team’s 60-57 win over St. Thomas (Minn.) in the NCAA national semifinal Friday.
- Lynn’s Cam O’Neill went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in the Holy Cross baseball team’s 3-2 win Saturday over Wagner and now leads the Crusaders with 10 RBI this season.
- Swampscott High grad and Nahant native Al Wallach earned two wins for the Framingham State baseball team this past week, pitching a complete game, five-hit shutout with three strikeouts Saturday against Mount St. Joseph after throwing 7 1/3 innings to defeat Rowan. Wallach, who will again pitch for the North Shore Navigators this summer, is 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA on the season and has recorded 16 strikeouts to just four walks in 20.1 innings.
- Peabody’s Matt Correale struck out six and allowed just a hit and a walk in 3 2/3 scoreless innings in the University of Southern Maine baseball team’s 4-1 win over St. Thomas (Minn.) Sunday.
- Tufts University left-hander Tim Superko, who pitched for the Navigators in 2015, was named this season’s inaugural Pitcher of the Week Monday after throwing seven innings of one-hit ball and striking out 12 in the Jumbos’ 22-0 win over St. Vincent.
- Marblehead’s Jack Sharrio of the Trinity College men’s lacrosse team scored a pair of man-up goals and added two assists and a ground ball in a 14-7 loss to Bates, while scoring a goal and an assist and scooping up three ground balls in a 12-6 victory over Emmanuel.
- Danvers native Will Jennings scored in his fifth straight game for the Endicott men’s lacrosse team Sunday, an 11-6 loss to Springfield. He leads the Gulls with 11 goals and eight assists this season.