Local softball teams impress in opening week

Posted 4/17/24

My biggest takeaway through the first week of spring sports is how excellent our softball teams are here at Beacon Communications. All five of our teams have impressed and could be contenders by …

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Local softball teams impress in opening week


My biggest takeaway through the first week of spring sports is how excellent our softball teams are here at Beacon Communications. All five of our teams have impressed and could be contenders by season’s end, at least based on what we’ve seen in the early going.

In Warwick, Pilgrim appears to be right back to where it was last year as one of the state’s best clubs. Gretchen Dombeck has proven to be a worthy successor in the circle after Alyssa Twomey graduated, and returners like Genna D’Amato, Madison Tuirok and Skylar Hawes appear to be more than enough on offense to keep this team in play for a deep postseason run.

The only question I have at this point is experience. Although Pilgrim’s underclassmen have proven to be ready for significant roles, how will they fare when the playoffs arrive? It’s early, I know, but this team will be in the playoffs, no doubt. How far can the youngsters carry this team when the postseason grind gets underway?

As for Toll Gate, despite starting 0-2, what I saw on Monday against Johnston was encouraging.

Pitcher Delaney Wilson is back and threw an absolute gem against the Panthers (who we’ll get to in a moment). Wilson allowed just one earned run and struck out 14 batters. Unfortunately, the Titans bats were cold.

Sure, Toll Gate also has a young roster, but having a pitcher capable of doing what Wilson did is huge. Others may disagree, but pitching is the most important aspect of the game at the high school level. Any team can get lucky and knock in a couple runs here and there, but having a quality pitcher is essential. There is no such thing as a fluke performance in the circle.

Toll Gate was shut out in each game, so I do believe the offense will struggle this season. Wilson, though, will only get better once the weather warms up, as will the entire team. Toll Gate has a difference maker in the circle, and even just a small improvement at the plate will allow the Titans to win some games and make a playoff push.

The Cranston East Bolts look primed to be a contender in Division III after returning to the playoffs last season.

Freshman Isabella Sousa has been flat out dominant in the circle for the Bolts. Again, if you have a top tier pitcher, that alone will make you a playoff team. Jaeda Viveiros, Nevaeh Fatorma, Kiara McGarty, Estrella Rivas and Mariah Means-Waldorf are all solid players, while Samaya Imondi and Leanna Garcia look ready to emerge as underclassmen.

The Bolts really have all the pieces in place to contend for a championship, it will just be about staying healthy and consistent.

Across town, the West Falcons have also picked up where they left off last year and are also very much in the Division I Championship mix.

As of this writing, the Falcons are 1-0 after thumping North Kingstown 18-0 in the season opener. Heading into the season, the questions were: who would replace Paige Cote in the circle, and would the Falcons have enough depth to replace the two or three big bats that graduated?

It’s a small sample size, for sure, but an 18-0 win is impressive and should give us the answers.

Mia Crudale got the win in her debut as the team’s pitcher and has been around for awhile … she should be ready to lead the team in the circle. Sofia Marella is behind the plate, and Siena Nardelli, Nicole Silvestri and Sam Healy all return and look ready to be All-Division players. This lineup is still loaded despite losing a few pieces.

Finally, the Johnston Panthers have already emerged as the favorite to win the DII title.

Haley Boudreau returns after a breakout freshman season and is set to be one of the best pitchers, not only in the division, but in the entire state. In two starts, she is 2-0 and has yet to allow a run while picking up 28 strikeouts. She has also been solid at the plate as well.

Along with Boudreau, there is Arianna Velasquez, who will be playing Division II softball in college and is an elite infielder. Ava Waterman also returns along with Kalyn Foster, who drove in the team’s only earned run on Monday against Toll Gate.

Between having the division’s best pitcher and a deep, versatile lineup on the field and at the dish, Johnston should be there until the very end.

Again, it has only been a week. Things can change and look completely different in the next two months, but when assessing the ceilings of these teams, we could easily see all five reach the playoffs and multiple win championships. Softball has always been my favorite spring sport to cover, so I am thrilled that it looks like this will be a huge season for our teams.

pitch, softball


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