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EAST GREENWICH â€“ After a stellar 20-1 record in 2012 that culminated with a Division II championship victory over West Warwick, the East Greenwich softball team lost three team captains and three of the teamâ€™s more productive starters.
â€śItâ€™s tough to replace players like Mollie Anderson, Karen Lockhart and Alex Place, for lack of a better term All State, All Division players, who were at the top of the lineup,â€ť said head coach Robert Petrucci. â€śBut I think weâ€™ve got some kids that are going to do that this year.â€ť
In total, EG lost five seniors, yet the three captains undoubtedly had an enormous impact on the winning record last year.
Anderson lead the team with a .446 batting average and 11 doubles. Lockhart contributed 29 RBIs and 16 runs to the Avenger offense last spring, while Place had 16 runs and 10 RBIs during her senior season.
Although those are some impressive numbers to recreate, two-thirds of last yearâ€™s lineup is returning in 2013 for the Avengers, and if one is using 2012 statistics as an indicator, there are many portents of promise with the teamâ€™s offense for this spring. Current senior Lauren Duvall was a power threat as a junior, leading the championship squad in RBIs (36), home runs (5) and triples (4). Juniors Jackie Defusco and Brooke Andreozzi were tied for the team lead in runs with 29. Defusco also led the team in stolen bases.
â€śThe last two years, we really got a lot of kids into the mix, we had 19 kids on varsity two years ago, we had 17 kids on varsity last year, so all the kids that are playing, have played, to the degree at which theyâ€™ve played and their experience, Iâ€™m not to sure about that. But I know, right now I feel comfortable with the kids that were putting in,â€ť Petrucci said. â€śOffensively I think weâ€™re going to be in decent shape, weâ€™ve got a really good lineup thatâ€™s coming back.â€ť
Anderson was also EGâ€™s main pitcher last season, amassing 20 wins with a miniscule 0.74 earned run average and 107 strikeouts in 133 innings pitched. Duvall was the only other varsity pitcher to work in 2012, posting a 1.75 ERA in four innings pitched in the couple of games Anderson didnâ€™t complete.
â€śLauren [Duvall] is our starter,â€ť Petrucci said. â€śWeâ€™ve got three excellent pitchers on the team, if anything happens we feel pretty good about it but she [Lauren] has been our backup pitcher for the last two years and she deserves it.â€ť
As a final preparation for the upcoming season, EG took on Westerly (2-16, Division I South last year) at home in a casual scrimmage. EG took an early lead, practicing their small ball with a few stolen bases and bunt attempts. Lauren Duvall and Sarah Gavin knocked in first inning runs on a triple and a single respectively.
Both teams utilized the scrimmage environment to practice their situational game, starting the last few innings with a runner on second to simulate the tightness of extra innings under international rules.
Duvall pitched well allowing a few scattered runs, most notably a homerun by Westerly catcher Hailey Ledbetter.
â€śWeâ€™re really looking forward to the season, we want to get right in there,â€ť he said. â€śWeâ€™ve got a tough game right off the bat with Prout.â€ť
Petrucci previewed what he hopes will be his starting lineup for the majority of the season.
â€śKerri Pallister at first, Jackie Defusco at second, Hannah Anderson at shortstop, Jackie Passaretti at third, Rachel Gammons in left, Maggie Mathieu in center and Sarah Gavin in rightfield with Brooke Andreozzi as the DP.â€ť