PEABODY — Last season the softball team did not finish the season as they hoped, losing in the state championship to Taunton. However, this year behind the leadership of head coach Tawny Palmieri, the Tanners will be looking to go that one step further and bring home the state championship to Peabody.
“Last season we finished second in the state. I think it was the start to what Peabody softball is going to be like in years to come,” Palmieri said. “There’s no more ‘making it to the final’, the goal now is to win it from here on out.”
When asked what is different about this year’s team, Palmieri spoke about the chemistry between the players and the coaches.
“I think these kids are starting to understand what we’re trying to achieve with them, and how we want the best for them in life, not just softball. […] They are finally buying in. They’re trusting in us and we’re trusting in them. The chemistry and the energy we have this year is even better and stronger than ever,” Palmieri said.
The Tanners squad lost a few players to graduation, but Palmieri said she has a great core returning including their “battery”.
“We have our battery back which is crucial,” Palmieri said.
The battery consists of two players: senior captain Isabel Bettencourt who is the team’s catcher, and Abby Bettencourt who is one of the three pitchers for the Tanners.
“Our pitching group is good. We have a really strong group with two of them being juniors and another being a freshman,” Palmieri said.
Pitching is not the only strength of Peabody this year. The Tanners are balanced from offense to defense, due to their core returning.
Some of the big hitters that the opposition will fear are Penny Spack, Kiley Doolin, and Avery Grieco. Palmieri described all three as “key players” with a “big bat”.
On defense, Palmieri is spoiled with a do-it-all utility player in Doolin. And defensive ace Logan Lomasney.
“Kiley got bounced from the outfield to the infield. She basically played all over the place and held her own at each position,” Palmieri said.
“Logan played second base last year and faced a ton of action. She did very well and actually saved us in a few big games,” Palmieri said.
When asked how tryouts have been going, Palmieri informed that five eighth graders will be playing JV this season which in her view, will help sustain Peabody softball in the long run.
“It’s great for us because they’re young kids so by the time they get to high school, they’re going to be ready to go,” Palmieri said. “They’re going to understand our program and what we expect. Playing JV now will make them more advanced for when they get to the varsity level.”
Palmieri is building a winning culture at Peabody and feels there is something different about her team.
“It just feels different. Sometimes that’s a good thing and can be the difference between winning and not winning a state championship,” Palmieri said.
The Tanners will continue to work hard to try not only to get back to the state championship, but to bring it home with them this year.