Holliston’s Kerr Aiming For Another Tourney Date in Softball

KEN HAMWEY, Staff Sports Writer
Erin Kerr provides a consistent, reliable strength for Holliston softball.
Issue Date: 
May, 2018
Article Body: 

Holliston High softball coach Jen Picardo uses words like “dependable’’ and “reliable’’ when she’s discussing left-handed pitcher Erin Kerr.
Based on last year’s results, those adjectives are spot on, and it’s safe to say that the Panthers’ 2018 season again will be very dependent on the 18-year-old senior. Holliston finished last year’s regular season at 10-10 and eked out a tourney berth in its final game. Unfortunately, the Panthers’ playoff hopes ended after a first-round loss to Middleboro. Kerr started all 20 regular-season games and pitched the tourney opener.
“Besides being dependable and reliable, Erin has a great attitude, she’s consistent and very intense,’’ Picardo said. “She’s grown in her role as a pitcher, and she’s also improved as a hitter. She rises to the occasion in key games.’’
That’s exactly what happened last year when Holliston needed a victory over Medway in its final game to qualify for tournament action. Kerr, who relies on an assortment of six pitches, started the contest, and in the end, she helped the Panthers punch their ticket to the post-season.
“I was on point that day,’’ Kerr said. “My control was good, I had 10 strikeouts and my teammates played a strong game, hitting and fielding well. I was a bit hyper before the game started, but I settled down once we got underway.’’
At Local Town Pages deadline, Holliston had a 1-2 record, and Kerr was the pitcher of record in all three games.
Having started playing softball at age five, Kerr throws a fastball, curve, drop, riser, change-up and a screwball. A Tri Valley League all-star last year, she’s hoping her final year for the Panthers will again produce a playoff berth with a bit more success attached.
“My goal is for us to qualify and advance as far as possible,’’ said Kerr, who played three seasons of field hockey. “It’s a very realistic goal, because we’ve got experience, we’re athletic and we can hit and field. As for me personally, I’d like to improve on my pitching and hitting statistics.’’
That task will be challenging, but not out of reach. Last year, Kerr was 10-10 in the regular season and had an earned-run average of 2.25. She pitched 127 innings, struck out 125 batters and walked only 23. She hit .306, had two home runs and led the team in RBIs with 21.
Her pitching strengths include an effective fastball, arm strength, excellent control, a high softball IQ, confidence and a sterling work ethic. As a hitter, she’s both patient and aggressive and she’s worked to improve her mechanics, focusing on hip and wrist movement.
Kerr, who is a University of Scranton softball recruit, will pursue her love for the sport next spring, knowing that she must keep improving. “I can develop more speed on my pitches,’’ she said. “And, my overall mechanics on the mound can always be better. I’m working to improve my arm strength and my leg drive.’’
A captain this year, Kerr says she prefers to lead by example and looks forward to encouraging any teammate who may need advice. She also enjoys working with Holliston’s other four senior captains — catcher Grace Dzindolet, outfielder Abby Rae Wells, third baseman Gaby Cummins and first baseman Michaela Campbell.
“All four are excellent captains who lead in different ways,’’ Kerr said. “Grace is athletic and solid in key situations; Abby is a strong hitter and fielder; Gaby has a strong arm at third and she can move hitters up; and Michaela is versatile, able to pitch and also play the outfield.’’
Kerr, who joined the varsity halfway through her freshman season, also is bullish on Picardo. “Coach Picardo showed lots of confidence in me early on and that makes me comfortable,’’ Kerr said. “She’s a great motivator who knows the game.’’
Kerr, who was selected as Holliston’s MVP last year, wouldn’t mind being named a TVL all-star again, a move that she says would be a credit to her teammates. “Individual honors are nice, but it’s your team that makes that happen,’’ she emphasized. “A strong work ethic and support from your teammates are what’s important.’’
An honor-roll student, Kerr has been accepted at Scranton and plans to major in occupational therapy. “I like their five-year program that allows students to get a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in five years,’’ she said. “I’ll also give softball a try.’’
Relying on a competitive philosophy on winning, reaching one’s potential and having fun, Kerr firmly believes that striving to be your best is what matters most. “If I work hard to reach my full potential, then I’m not only helping my team, but I’m also helping it to win,’’ Kerr stressed.
Acutely aware that sports teach valuable life lessons, Kerr says that athletics have sharpened her work ethic, her leadership ability and allowed her to deal with challenges with confidence.
The Panthers know what’s needed this spring to deal with the challenge of qualifying for the playoffs. And, they also know they’ve got the necessary attributes and ingredients to be a tourney team again.
It’s also quite apparent that Erin Kerr will be a key element in the formula for success.