ME Softball Team Working on Its Finishing Touch


The term “finishing skills” is traditionally applied to sports like basketball or soccer, but Manchester Essex softball coach Frank Sarro is hoping his team can find a way to apply it to their game as well.

The Hornets are 4-4 to this point and have shown some promise in the first eight games of the season: Close wins against Hamilton-Wenham (a 4-3 victory on April 8) and Ipswich (an 11-10 win on April 15) certainly shows the team’s ability to put the finishing touches on a game. Sarro states he was hoping to see more of that mindset in a 17-11 win over Rockport on April 26, one in which the mercy rule could have been applied early in the game had Manchester Essex finished up in a similar manner to the previous games.

We came out in the third inning with a 15-0 lead, and it was 17-0 in the fourth,” says Sarro. “After that, we gave up runs but never came back on offense ourselves. It was a great game in the first four innings, and they really hit well, but even the players acknowledged after the game that they have to keep pushing forward and not letting up.”

When this team pushes and doesn’t let up, it can be a scary proposition for opponents. This group

Anna Gardner, Abby Aiello, and Celia Mann each hit home runs in the Rockport win and are among some of the team’s top batters: Aiello leads the team in hitting, and Gardner has hit at a .348 clip after starting the season going 0-for-9 at the plate. Catcher Cami Friedrich has one of the highest OBPs on the team and his hitting just under .400.  Also of note was the play of Lucy Parmalee.

“They worked a lot in the offseason,” Sarro says of his players.  “They’ve improved offensively and given us a lift.”

The offensive lift has helped offset some of the Hornets’ defensive inconsistencies.

“We’re kind of going back to the drawing board a bit with our defense,” explains Sarro. “[On April 28], we had time for players to do some individual defensive drills and then work out on defense as a team. We’re also in the middle of looking at different players in different positions.”

After that, it was back to game time, with Manchester Essex hosting Georgetown on April 29 before heading to Newburyport on May 1 and a road rematch with Hamilton-Wenham on May 3.

“Georgetown is the number one team in their division, they’re playing very well,” says Sarro. “That’s a good test for us. Newburyport on Wednesday is a tough team, and Friday is Hamilton-Wenham, which is always a big game for us in our conference.”

Hopefully spending some time on defense in practice and focusing on their finishing skills will help the Hornets navigate this week’s gauntlet and collect a few more wins.

“I like the fact that we are able to win some close games,” says Sarro. “We beat Hamilton-Wenham by one run, we beat Ipswich by one run. We’ve had some good, timely hitting. I feel like we just need to keep our pedal to the medal to win games.”