BROCKTON, Mass. ---- Sometimes success can cause setbacks – that was the case this season with the women's basketball and softball teams.
The Lady Warriors had an amazing season in basketball, capturing the program's first-ever Region XXI Championship en route to competing in the NJCAA National Tournament. However, with all the wins it prolonged the season and kept three student-athletes on the hardwood and away from the diamond.
Sophomores Ashley Andrade (Randolph), Marina Palladino (Carver) and Cynara Rustin (Boston) all suited up on the basketball team and were kept away from practicing with first year softball head coach Sandy Lombardi.
Like any sport, practice is very important to the start of the season and the trio of Andrade, Palladino and Rustin had their sights on hoops until the middle of March. Originally the softball season was set to begin March 25. Luckily, weather pushed the schedule back an extra nine days.
In fact, March 24th was the first practice that the softball team had a full squad and was able to be outside shagging fly balls.
When the season got under way, the Warriors struggled out of the gate, dropping their first three games and going 1-4 in the first five contests. However, with the weather starting to heat up, so has the squad's bats.
Massasoit has strung together five consecutive wins to sit at 6-4, including doubleheader sweeps vs. Northern Essex and Quinsigamond.
Palladino, who has made the transition from the outfield to first base, has been a key contributor at the plate. After dealing with an injury to start the season, the sophomore has come on strong, hitting .500 (14-for-28) and currently riding a seven-game hit streak. In the last five wins, Palladino has produced two-or-more hits in all of them. Palladino's batting average ranks tied for second in Region XXI.
Another key factor at the plate and behind the dish has been sophomore catcher Amanda Young (Randolph). The backstop is 11-for-26 (.423) and is tied with Ashley Pitts (Rockland) with a team-best 12 RBI. Young has showcased great patience, drawing nine walks and recently was a single shy of the cycle in a win vs. Quinsigamond.
The third Warrior hitting .400 or better is Pitts, who is 12-for-30 on the season. The outfielder packs a punch at the bottom of the Masasoit lineup and has scored nine runs and knocked in 12 on the year.
The biggest factor and unsung hero on the softball squad in 2014 has been pitcher Taylor Richards (Walpole). The righty has been in the circle for all 10 games this season and pitched every single inning for the Warriors. She has 47 strikeouts to just six walks and owns a 2.48 ERA for the season.
As a team, Massasoit is hitting .329 and nearly has as many walks (49) as strikeouts (58) for the season. The team owns an on-base percentage of .435 and averaging 7.5 runs off 9.1 hits per contest.
Pohl & Pitts Perform Perfectly At Plate
In a victory vs. Northern Essex on April 12th, Alex Pohl (Middleboro) and Ashley Pitts (Rockland) had perfect days at the plate. Pohl went 5-for-5 with six RBI and Pitts was 3-for-3 with four runs scored and five RBI.
Richards Issues No Freebies
Taylor Richards has showcased pinpoint accuracy in the circle for the Warriors this season, walking only six batters in 62 innings. In fact, Richards has not walked a batter over the last seven games, totaling an impressive 43 frames.
Lombardi Wins First Game
Head coach Sandy Lombardi picked up her first win leading the Massasoit softball team on April 6 vs. NHTI, claiming the backend of a doubleheader, 5-2.