HHS Girls Softball Win the 3rd District Title in 4 years

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Confidence is what they showed which lead to the 3rd District Title in 4 years! Congratulations to the team and Coaches!  Photo credits: Steve Bassignani
Issue Date: 
July, 2018
Article Body: 

Last spring Hopedale took its six seed in the Division 3 Central Softball Tournament all the way to the top by dispatching of Maynard, Quaboag, Uxbridge and then Blackstone Valley for the Title before finally falling to Turner Falls, the eventual State Champion, in the State Semi Finals.
This spring the Blue Raiders did not fare as well as last year’s team in regard to their regular season. Hopedale went 10-9 and was awarded a nine seed in the tournament and was looking to get back into the State Tournament.
Hopedale took out Oxford in the first round before upsetting the number one seed Millbury 8-4 and then edged Assabet 3-2 to advance into the Championship against Montachusett.
“While our record was not as good as a year ago we still played our opposition tough. We had our share of real close games that could have gone either way,” said Hopedale Coach Shanna Lathrop. “I had no doubt coming into the season that we could win it (Div. 3 Central Championship) again, we would just need get onto position. Everyone on this team contributes to our success.”
Helping the Blue Raiders on the mound was freshman Bianca Fitch. The first year varsity starter was a little rough at the beginning of the season but was able to keep her team in the game. Lathrop had set the young hurler a goal to improve on throwing strikes and putting the ball in play, allowing the defense behind her to do their job.
“She was committed and mentally strong. If she made a mistake she was able to come right back, the coach said. “Throughout the year she progressed, especially in her ball to strike ratio and worked real hard on developing her pitches,”
Backing up Fitch was another young pitcher in eighth grader Ashleigh Bourois. While primarily pitching for the junior varsity team Bourois did get into 11 innings of play on the varsity level.
Another young athlete, sophomore Lena Swift, was a key contributor to the Blue Raiders offense. The eventual right fielder batted right around .500 during the regular season and used her speed and base path awareness to help Hopedale put up some runs. According to the Blue Raider skipper, Swift has a lot of tools in her toolbox and will do whatever is needed to get the team the run support it needs to win.
Junior Kathleen Maloney is another offensive threat at the plate. She hits the ball hard, drives in runs and like Swift, understands what needs to be done to be successful on the field.
On the defensive side of the ball everyone contributes. When they take to the field each girl is fundamentally sound, enabling themselves to cover the basics at all times while making those routine plays.
Maloney, junior Meg Holt and senior Liz Swanson are the team captains and in asddition to providing the younger girls with the leadership they need they keep the team close on and off the field.
Outside of Swanson, Hopedale has no other seniors on the club. The team is composed of 5 juniors, 3 sophomores, 7 freshmen and 1 eighth grader.
“We have a lot of young athletes (4 freshman are starters) on the team and they just need to work on their game and understanding of the rules,” Lathrop said. “Coming into the tournament I just wanted them to give it their best effort and show the confidence that they belong.”