ME Softball Standouts Give Boost to HW Squad


 While it’s been a rebuilding year for the Hamilton-Wenham softball team, there are some very encouraging signs when looking closer at some of the individual development and achievements for some of players on the squad who live on Cape Ann.

Some players are rounding into form a year removed from serious injury, some are finding their footing in their first year of high school softball and some have the potential to be one of the top players in the Cape Ann League next spring.  All four of the players below are Manchester Essex student athletes playing as part of a co-op with Hamilton-Wenham, and all four have made great strides this season.

Abby Taron

Spring of 2022 has been a comeback season for Taron, who suffered a compound fracture of her ankle early on last season and has been working to find her way back from a fairly serious injury.  In fact, it was a moment to celebrate when she got her first hit in a year during the season opener against Ipswich. 

“The biggest joy for the season was when Abby got her first hit in the first game,” explains Hamilton-Wenham softball coach George Shapiro.  “She was so happy.”

The junior has spent most of the year as designated player, while slowly getting acclimated to her usual position at third base with playing time here and there.

“Her mobility is not that great, and for the last month or so she’s been struggling at the plate,” says Shapiro.  “But she had an at-bat [against Georgetown on May 23] in a key spot and got a double.  And I usually take her out for a runner, and she said, ‘Coach, I can run.’  She always has a great smile and a great attitude.”

As the regular season nears its end, it appears that Taron is working out the kinks and is poised for a big year in 2023.

“The good news is she is feeling stronger every day, she’s got a great attitude, and I think if Manchester Essex fields its own team next year, she will be able to play in the field,” says Shapiro.

Celia Mann

Shapiro calls Mann, “probably the biggest surprise on the team.”

The sophomore has put in a lot of time and effort into her game, playing softball not only during the spring but for the fall and winter teams that Shapiro coaches as well over the past few years.  All that effort seems to have paid off, as Mann earned time in leftfield and at second on the varsity squad.

“She’s filled in at second base and done a tremendous job in leftfield,” explains the coach.  “She got a big hit and a couple of RBIs [against Georgetown].  She’s moving up in the order, her hitting has gotten better and she is ready for a breakout season.”

Kyra Levasseur

Levasseur is another regular on Shapiro’s offseason squads in the fall, winter and summer, and it has helped her to earn a regular spot in right field, time as the top pitcher in relief situations and a pretty good eye for the ball when batting.

“She’s pitched some jayvee and some mop-up in varsity, she plays a real nice right field and she hits really well – close to .300,” explains Shapiro.  “She’s always striving to get better Whatever we give her to work on and improve upon, she does her best to apply it.”

He adds: “She does a good job defensively and has a tremendous attitude.”

Morgan Laspesa

“It was one of our first practices, and I came in and met her and thought, ‘This girl loves to play,’” Shapiro says of Laspesa.  “She’s mature beyond her years, you wouldn’t know that she’s a sophomore.”

The sophomore has put in a good chunk of time as the catcher for the junior varsity squad, but has also spent time as the backup catcher and an outfielder for the varsity team.

“She’s split the jayvee games catching,” explains Shapiro.  “She turned out to be a pretty nice outfielder who is always at practice and has a good attitude.  She had one start against Newburyport and seemed a little overwhelmed in that start.  It’s a good team and she was very nervous, but she handled it well.”

Laspesa has been working on her batting stance with Shapiro since the start of the year, and there are signs that has paid off as well.

“She got an incredible hit against Amesbury, and pinch hit against their number two pitcher,” says Shapiro.

abby taron, kyra levasseur, celia mann, morgan lapesa