Samantha Miller, last game at the hot corner
By Steev Riccardo
The number seventh-seeded Shepherd Hill Rams girls’ softball team’s season ended with a hard fought 2-0 loss in the semi-finals of the Districts on Friday to a very good Holy Name team, ending a successful season for Paul Enman and the Lady Rams.
The Rams, who finished 14-9 overall, and were coming off a big win over Central powerhouse Shrewsbury, had their chances against Holy Name but couldn’t get runs across the plate when they needed to and fell short.
“It was a well played and close game all the way,” said Enman. “They scratched two runs in and we weren’t able to capitalize on the opportunities that we had. We left runners on third base, we left the bases loaded at one point, we were just unable to get the runners home. We attempted a squeeze that wasn’t successful; they made a real good play on it. We were just not able to match them and that was the difference.”
The Rams had to beat the number two seed Shrewsbury Colonials to get to their semi-finals match, which they did in a huge upset 2-1 on Tuesday, June 5, in Shrewsbury.
The Rams win ended a nine-game winning streak by the powerful Colonials, who were penciled in to go far in the playoffs.
Rams’ shortstop Emily Hanson made a game-saving play when she threw out a Colonials runner at the plate to secure the victory in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Pitching ace Molly Covill got the win, scattering six hits while striking out 10 in another superb performance for the senior star.
The Rams scored both their runs in the sixth inning. Sophomore Shelby Stracher had a sacrifice fly, and Covill scored on a passed ball.
Junior Cassidy Colby also had two hits for the Rams in the win, which led them to their showdown with the Colonials.
Unfortunately for the Rams, they couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity and came up short against Holy Name, ending their season.
Head Coach Enman, who replaced Tom Caffelle as the girls coach, reflected on the team’s season and philosophy afterwards.
“Not a whole lot changed when Tom left. We are good friends, we still work together on these players cause we know them well. I take a lot of advice from him and I will run stuff by him. Our coaching styles are very similar so the system hasn’t really changed a whole lot.”
What will now be changing for the Rams is their pitching staff as their ace Covill is graduating and will be very hard to replace.
“She is a real tough competitor and as the competition gets stronger so does she. She is quiet, but she is determined. She has been pitching at the varsity level since she was a sophomore and she has been our go-to pitcher for the better part of the three years.”
“The nice thing about the Dudley-Charlton system is that it is a strong system and there are young pitchers in the pipeline, will someone be able to step up and take her place and be as effective as she has been this last year, maybe not right away but maybe so, you never know.”
Another key loss for the Rams will be Lauren Gorodeckas, who has also graduated.
“Lauren’s contributions in the playoffs were strong offensively, she was one of our best base runners, she has quite of bit of speed,” said Enman. “She is the kind of kid that came through when you needed her most. She has been here three years along with Molly (Covill). I am really going miss her. She was one of my favorites.”
Third baseman Samantha Miller, who hit .350 this season, also played her last game in a Rams uniform. “We are also going to miss Sam, she has been solid at third base for the last three years,” said Enman.
The Rams do, however, have a lot of talent returning, including the sister combo of Marisa and Cassidy Colby, who are both outstanding hitters.
Cassidy Colby led the team with a .471 batting average and “She wreaked havoc with that lefty bat and she really came into her own this year,” said Enman.
Marisa Colby, who is only a sophomore, hit .350 this year and will also be a key player for the Rams in the next couple seasons.
The team also has one of the top catchers in the Southern Worcester County League returning in Shelby Stracher, who hit over .300 and has tremendous power.
Shortstop Emily Hanson and juniors Emily Bagley and Jess Schutrick are also returning.
With this strong nucleus of players returning, Enman and his staff have plenty to build on so we can surely expect great things from the Hill in the future.
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