Sports

Inexperience turns into experience for Revere softball team

Revere's Joli Giuliano keeps her eye on the ball during Wednesday's practice. (Item Photo by Owen O'Rourke)

REVERE — The Revere softball team may have had an inexperienced team in 2018 but that didn’t stop the Patriots from having a successful season.

“Last year we had a young team,” Patriots coach Joe Ciccarello said. “Essentially we had five new players starting for us, four freshmen and one sophomore with no varsity experience. We made the tournament, beat Beverly in the first round and lost to Methuen (7-6).”

Now a year older, Revere will hope to learn from last season heading into 2019.

“We actually had a lead that entire (Methuen) game,” Ciccarello said. “We had them and they came back and beat us in the seventh inning. We were winning 6-5 and they scored two runs in the seventh. It was a good learning experience for all of us.

“Those younger kids are now a year older,” Ciccarello said. “We’re extremely athletic. We know the game well. These girls play softball year-round in indoor gyms. Whether we perform at a high level when it’s game time, that remains to be seen. But we definitely have some potential this year. We have a ton of athletes that we can really put anywhere.”

Ciccarello’s confident that his three senior co-captains, Olivia McManus, Danielle Dion and Joli Giuliano, will help lead the Patriots on the field. More importantly he knows his captains a close-knit group. When Ciccarello’s Melrose home was devastated by a fire in February, his softball players were some of the first to reach out.

“I just think this is a fun group, a great group,” Ciccarello said. “They certainly have a place in my heart. When the fire happened five weeks ago they were the first people to call me. My softball captains were the first ones to call me in support so they’re quality people.

“Our three captains have been doing a good job,” Ciccarello said. “They’ve been great organizing preseason workouts. They’ve done a good job organizing everything we need to do here and getting the attitudes right. We’re a loose bunch but we know the game and we know when we need to get serious.”

On the mound the Patriots return two reliable pitchers in McManus and Adrianna Fusco. Revere only lost one starter from 2018 in third baseman Victoria Correia, but replacing her at the plate will be a challenge.

“Olivia and Adrianna are our two pitchers and they’re both more than capable on the mound,” Ciccarello said. “But we will really miss Victoria’s bat. She was a big hitter, got a couple of home runs for us. She drove in a lot of runs and she was a big hitter.”

With an athletic bunch the Patriots will look to put the ball in play in aim of placing pressure on their opponents.

“We have all scrappers at the plate,” Ciccarello said. “None of these girls are really big hitters. They all scrap. I think we’ll be able to put the ball in play whether we bunt, hit or slap. We’re going to put the ball in play. We’re athletic so we’ll be able to run and put pressure on teams. That’s what we want to be able to do.”

The Patriots are hopeful their style of play can put them at the top Northeastern Conference, but Ciccarello knows there’s a lot of tough competition.

“Classical will be right there,” Ciccarello said. “They have a great pitcher (Brooke Warren). They’re going to be good, as well as Everett and Medford. I think it will be us four. The top four are going to all battle and the winner can come from any one of us, I think.”

Before their season opener in a few weeks the Patriots will be busy with plenty of scrimmages while they fine tune their batting order.

“We have a ton of scrimmage games before then,” Ciccarello said. “We have three scrimmages on Saturday and three on Sunday at Cape Cod. Next week we scrimmage Danvers, Swampscott and Woburn. I got a lot of scrimmages because this group needs more game-practice then they do practice-practice. They don’t need to be taught the game. They need the experience. It’s a matter of fine tuning some things and seeing who will go where.”

Revere opens its season on the road in non-conference game at Chelmsford April 9 (4:30).

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