Coach Rachel Sprague’s team has their sights set on a state softball championship. If the results so far are any indication, that goal is well within reach.
Walpole capped off an impressive regular season last week with wins over Bay State Conference foes as it finished perfect in league play and with a 17-1 overall record.
The Timberwolves’ one loss was on opening day against Abington. Walpole avenged the defeat six weeks later on May 18.
“Coming into the year we talked about how the state championship is the goal and that it’s possible for us,” Sprague said. “It’s possible for everyone, so why not this group and why not this year? Now it’s just one day at a time trying to make sure we do not look past anyone and look to play our best.”
Walpole ace Sharlotte Stazinski has stifled opponents all year. Her brilliance was on full display just over a week ago when she defeated Newton North, Milton, and the aforementioned Green Wave in a four-day span, striking out 31 combined in the process. On the year she is 13-1 with a 1.28 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 93 innings. Stazinski’s battery mate, Ari Kreuzer, has cemented herself as a high-level catcher.
“Sharlotte is unlike anything else I’ve seen. She seems to do even better when teams apply pressure on her,” Sprague said. “She gives us confidence, energy, and she is a great competitor. Even on an off day — when she has one of those days — she is still one of the best pitchers in the state.”
Walpole has a blend of youth to go with postseason experience. Captain Abby Kearns holds down the fort at second base while Brookie Arena has solidified herself as an everyday first baseman. At shortstop is freshman Sienna Kreuzer while over at the hot corner is Norah Broderick, who provides power in the Walpole lineup.
In the outfield Kearns fellow captains Lindsey Jacobs and McKenzie Evans provide depth in left while Susie McAdams is a table-setter and patrols right field. Caroline Doran is the team’s everyday centerfielder.
“Our defense has been there all year. When we’ve needed to get out of jams they have been there for us. Between that and our pitching, we’re where we are right now,” Sprague said.
A baseball battle between two Div. 1 contenders will take place on the final day of the regular season as Franklin will host St. John’s Shrewsbury for the first time. The meeting is set for noon on Memorial Day. The Panthers enter the home stretch as the No. 1 overall seed in Div. 1 while the Pioneers sit at No. 3.
May 20 proved to be a milestone day for O’Bryant head coach Ted Curley. Curley picked up his 400th career victory as head coach that spans his time at both O’Bryant and Milton.
The MIAA is set to release the state tournament pairings for baseball and softball on Wednesday, May 31 at 11 a.m. There will be no power ranking updates until that time. Teams that place in the top 32 of their division’s power ranking or attain at least a .500 winning percentage qualify for the state tournament. The higher seed of each round is the designated host until the state semifinals.