ME Softball Looks to Keep Season Going


Now that softball is back at MERHS, the local team is looking to extend its first season in four years by qualifying for the postseason.

The Hornets were ranked 29th in the MIAA Div. 4 Power Rankings at the start of the week, and the top 32 teams in the rankings qualify for the postseason at the end of spring.  With six games left, Manchester Essex needs to keep accentuating the positive and making strides to stay in contention for the playoffs.

“Our wins so far helped to put us in this position,” says ME softball coach Frank Sarro.  “This continues to be our goal. We need to win as many games as we can and finish the season strong and the rest will take care of itself. With six games to go, we’re excited for the opportunity. We’re right there and we have a lot to play for the rest of the way.”

The Hornets have four wins so far (with a pair of victories over Rockport and a win each against Hamilton-Wenham and Cristo Rey Boston) and boast a 4-9 overall record.  The wins earlier this season have helped to keep them in contention, as well as strength of schedule:  The CAL is loaded from top to bottom.

“Our conference is tough, although our strength of schedule has helped us in the power rankings,” says Sarro. “We did go through a tough streak where we lost 4 in a row at one point.”

ME nearly pushed that win total to five and pulled out a win against Ipswich on May 8 but ended up losing, 12-8, leaving he bases loaded three times in the contest.  The Hornets were looking to push the win total even further this week, with Cristo Rey (May 15) and Hamilton-Wenham (May 17), followed by a May 19 matchup with Lynnfield at Sweeney Park (4 p.m.).

“All of these are big games for us, and we have beaten Cristo Rey and Hamilton Wenham earlier this season,” explains Sarro. “These teams have talent and are scrappy. We need to play good defense and hit our spots pitching. We need to be able to get the hit in key moments.”

The Hornets have gotten various contributions from all over the field so far this year.

“Freshman Anna Gardner is having an amazing offensive year,” says Sarro. “Freshmen Abby Aiello and Penelope Riggs are also putting up really good offensive numbers.”

Riggs has a couple of home runs this season, including one she sent out of the park against Newburyport on May 10. The three freshmen also comprise the majority of the team’s pitching staff, with Riggs getting time at first and Gardner and Aiello splitting time at shortstop.

Since this is a team that’s fairly young and new to each other, the senior captains have been crucial to keeping things going in 2023.

“We’re getting great leadership from our senior captains, Kyra Levasseur and Abby Taron, which is vital with such a young team,” says Sarro. “Kyra hits leadoff and gets on base a lot and is among the team leaders in scored runs. Abby has done a great job playing third for us defensively. She understands our defense, plays smart, and stays calm under pressure.”

Even with the regular season coming to a close soon, the Hornets are still hoping to improve on team defense, while continuing to lean on an offense that has pop and a pitching staff with enviable depth.

“We have improved so much from the beginning of the year, although there is still so much work to do,” says Sarro. “I like our resilience -- I feel like this has been a difference in our wins.”

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