Last year, the Oliver Ames softball team finished with a 14-8 record and won the Davenport Division to record its best season in school history under head coach Bob Huckabee.
In 2012, the Lady Tigers will look to take the next step towards Hockomock League supremacy. But, this time around, the team will be led by first year coach Lindsey Allison, replacing Huckabee who left for Apponequet High School after five years at the helm.
So far the transition has been pretty successful for Allison as her team is off to a 2-0 start.
“I’m very excited,” said Allison (OA class of 2004), a former catcher for the softball team. “They don’t like to lose. They dig deep and they make all the adjustments necessary. It’s been a very good start so far.”
That 2-0 start is just what the doctor ordered, especially in a tough league like the Hock.
Coming in as the Davenport favorites, OA has a target on its back as it looks to defend its small Hock crown. Rivals Stoughton and Sharon are expected to compete with the Lady Tigers for the top spot, while Canton could also make some noise.
Meanwhile, King Philip returns several players from last year’s state championship team, including starting ace Meg Rico, while Franklin – which eliminated OA in the preliminary round last June – and Mansfield are other teams to keep an eye on in the Kelley-Rex division.
Despite the tough competition, Allison thinks her team is prepared for the challenge(s).
“We’re ready for anything,” she said. “These kids are happy to be here, and that’s one of the best things about coaching them.”
Despite losing the likes of Nicole Romero and Sandy Anton from last year’s senior class, and the Duffy-Protentis twins (Alexis and Nicole), who opted not to return to the diamond for their senior seasons, the core remains strong.
Co-captains Nicole LeBlanc (senior) and Arianna Scurtti (junior) have provided the team with good leadership. Both came through in the clutch during OA’s extra inning victory over Attleboro on Tuesday.
“Nicole LeBlanc is definitely coming into her own as a vocal leader,” Allison said about LeBlanc, who hit a clutch two-run home run against Attleboro in the bottom of the sixth. “She’s been everyone know what they are supposed to be doing and she’s been great about being vocal about that.”
“Ari is very supportive,” Allison said about Scurtti. “She’s very focused and it shows because she is not only vocal but she leads by example.”
LeBlanc and Scurtti are just two of the notable returnees for OA that also includes pitcher Elizabeth Batsinelas, Lexi Souci and Kristina Lincoln, just to name a few.
The Lady Tigers also welcome a few newcomers to the roster including Erin Lynch, who takes over at first base, and Hayley Allen, who anchors a brand new outfield.
OA hits the road for four straight contests before returning home on Wednesday, April 18, against Franklin.
OA softball quick facts
Head coach: Lindsey Allison (first year)
2011 record: 14-8
Captains: Nicole LeBlanc, Arianna Scurtti
Key Returnees: LeBlanc, Scurtti, Elizabeth Batsinelas, Kristina Lincoln, Lexi Soucie,
Key Losses: Nicole Romero, Sandy Anton, Alexis Duffy-Protentis, Nicole Duffy-Protentis
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