SWAMPSCOTT — Katie Watts put together a stellar season on the diamond for the Swampscott softball team last spring. The Big Blue’s starting shortstop, Watts scored 32 runs, tallied 32 RBI, hit 16 doubles and batted .559, giving opposing pitchers headaches in the process. College teams took notice of Watts’ talents on the diamond. She made her future plans official earlier this month when Watts committed to continue her softball career at Division III Endicott College in nearby Beverly.
“At first I didn’t even want to visit the school because it’s close,” Watts, a senior, said, “but after my mom made me visit the campus with a clear heard it doesn’t feel like it’s all that close. It’s sort of a separate campus. My mom and I are really tight so it’s great that she’ll be able to come to my games and still be a part of my life that way.
“It was honestly such a relief,” Watts said. “Endicott’s like a home away from home. It’s not like I’m leaving, I’m just moving my home to a different place. It’s great knowing that I’m not going to have that looming cloud over my head and not have people ask me where I’m going to go all the time.”
Aside from location, Watts was also impressed with the academic opportunities Endicott has to offer. She plans on double-majoring in math and secondary education, while competing for a Commonwealth Coast Conference championship with the softball team. Watts also considered Simmons and Emmanuel before choosing to join the Gulls.
“The location, the academic opportunities and the team made Endicott the best fit for me,” Watts said. “The goals the softball team has match my goals. They want to win a championship and that’s one of my goals, not only to win a conference championship but also go far in the NCAA Tournament.
“I was looking for my major to work out,” Watts said. “A lot of my schools didn’t have the secondary education part. Endicott hit the nail on that one. I looked at the internship opportunities. I want to be prepared when I graduate college. I wanted to make sure the team was the right fit because I knew I’d be spending a lot of time with them. Endicott checked off all the boxes for me.”
The Gulls went 30-6 last season under coach Katie Bettencourt, who returns for her second year as head coach this spring. Endicott went 16-2 against CCC opponents and reached the championship game of the conference tournament, meaning the Gulls were just one win away from reaching NCAA’s.
“Coach Bettencourt took the team and changed the whole culture there during her first year,” Watts said. “I think her coaching style and her competitiveness are going to help bring a championship at Endicott. There’s a lot of success in women’s sports there. Coach Bettencourt’s trying to not only help her athletes grow into women but also help them get some hardware.”
Watts, a two-sport athlete at Swampscott, is also a member of the school’s girls basketball team. Watts and the Big Blue are 14-4 on the season and have already qualified for the state tournament with two regular season games remaining.
As for her senior softball season, Watts is looking forward to helping the Big Blue to another state tournament run.
“I think we’re definitely going to be young,” Watts said. “I’m pretty confident in the upperclassmen’s leadership. I think we’ll be able to take make a mark and she the NEC that we haven’t left even though we lost some crucial players. I’m really looking forward to it. I think coach (Gary) Moran’s looking forward to it. I’m especially excited to see Sydney Cresta and Caleigh Hopkins come back.”