With but one exception, the Bourne junior varsity softball team consisted entirely of 8th graders this spring. With a roster of 22 players, the Lady Canalmen put together a 7-11 season, often facing teams of high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors.
Bourne opened the spring season on April 4 on the road, suffering a loss at the hands of Dighton-Rehoboth.
“CC Downarowicz started the season strong going two-for-three with a run scored,” coach Kristyn Alexander said. “She remained in our lead-off spot for the rest of the season. We could always count on her to get on base.”
In their home-opener the next day Bourne faced Upper Cape Tech and won 8-6.
“Madison Doyle pitched the entire game and struck out five,” the coach said. “She went two-for-four at the plate, with a double and two runs scored. Madelyn Leach was three-for-four with a double, a stolen base and a run scored.”
Shortly after posting her first win of the season, Doyle suffered a season ending injury, leaving the pitching for the rest of the spring in the hands of Downarowicz and Amber Ajami.
Losses to Seekonk and Case followed.
“Carly LaCasse went three-for-three in our game with Case,” Alexander said. “She had three singles and scored twice. Nicole Gardner was three-for-four with two runs scored and Sam Sierra had a couple of hits and scored two runs.”
The Lady Canalmen got back into the win column on April 14 with a 21-1 victory over Apponequet to even their record at 2-2.
“Our catcher, Leah Hidenfelter, had a four-for-four afternoon with a double and four runs scored,” the coach said. “Rhyan Ullo singled, had a couple of walks and scored twice. Deanna White, who is a sophomore, also scored a run.
By this point in the season we had established our lineup and the team was starting to gel,” Alexander said. “We were communicating and our starting nine was doing a great job of getting runs on the scoreboard. We were becoming a team and cheering each other on.”
On April 18 the team traveled to Wareham, suffering a 9-2 loss.
“Haley Grealish went two-for-three at the plate,” the coach said. “CC and Amber scored our two runs.”
A 13-2 loss to Fairhaven followed on the 22nd.
“Madelyn Leach was three-for-three, with three stolen bases and a run scored,” Alexander said. “CC scored our second run on a sacrifice bunt by Carly LaCasse.”
A big 13-8 win at home over Old Rochester followed on April 25.
Hannah Tripp went three-for-five at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored,” Alexander said. “Alexis Marsh-Vermette was two-for-two with an RBI and a run scored and Jordyn Churchill was two-for-two.”
A loss to D-R on the 28th followed.
“We lost, but we had some great plays in the outfield,” the coach said. “Our center fielder Sam Sierra and our right fielder Nicole Gardner each made very nice catches.”
April ended for the Lady Canalmen with a 15-5 victory over visiting Martha’s Vineyard.
“It was a big win for us,” Alexander said. “Haley Grealish was two-for-two with a couple of runs scored and Grace Angers, who was playing softball for the first time, got her first hit of the season. She singled and came around to score. Maeve O’Neil also had a hit and scored a run.”
Bourne opened the month of May at home, suffering a 12-8 loss to Case.
Amber and Leah were each two-for-four,” the coach said, “and Arianna Lopes-Hartman singled and walked and scored both times she reached base.”
The Lady Canalmen headed for Apponequet on the 7th, where they lost 5-2 to a much improved Laker team.
“CC went one-for-three and scored a run,” the coach said. “LaCasse was two-for-three with an RBI and a stolen base and Hidenfelter had two hits.”
A trip to Greater New Bedford Voc Tech on May 9 ended in a 14-1 loss for Bourne.
Amber Ajami was two-for-two and scored a run and Hannah Tripp had a hit and an RBI.
Back home on May 12 the Lady Canalmen got back into the win column in an 18-16 slugfest over Wareham.
“Madelyn Leach went three-for-five and won the game for us with a seventh inning grand slam,” Alexander said. “Rhyan Ullo was three-for-four and scored three runs. Amber Ajami was four-for-five with two singles, a double and a triple. She scored four runs and had three RBI. Haley Grealish was two-for-two and Jenna O’Melia and Diana Campbell each had base hits.”
Fairhaven arrived in Bourne on the 14th and slipped past the Lady Canalmen by a score of 10-6.
“We scored five runs in the bottom of the first,” the coach said. “CC and Carly singled and the Leah singled, scoring our first run. Amber singled driving in two more and then Madelyn and Rhyan each had RBI singles. But after that our bats went quiet.”
The team traveled to Seekonk next, where they suffered a 9-4 loss to the Warriors.
“Carolyn Stefanelli, who is new to softball, did a nice job in right field for us in this game,” the coach said. “She and Grace Angers were learning the basics. Lily Ritchie also played some outfield for us and did a nice job tracking the ball.”
Gardner finished the day two-for-two with a run scored.
On May 17 the team crossed the rotary to take on Upper Cape Tech, falling 11-10 to the Rams.
“We were down 10-2 going into the sixth and we scored eight times,” the coach said. “CC singled, Carly walked, and then Leah, Amber, Madelyn, Rhyan, Haley and Alyssa Rodriques all singled.”
On May 19 the Lady Canalmen traveled to Old Rochester, where they defeated the Bulldogs 13-7.
“Amber did a nice job pitching this one,” Alexander said. “We got 10 runs in the second inning. Hannah had two hits and two RBI. Nicole had a double and two RBI and Grace and Carly each had a hit and an RBI. CC had a double and an RBI, Amber had a couple of hits and scored two runs and Rhyan had two hits and a run scored and a RBI. Jenna walked twice and scored both times.”
The team wrapped up the season on May 22 in a rain-shortened game at Martha’s Vineyard, which they won 8-0.
“CC pitched and got the win,” the coach said. “White had a couple of walks and scored a run. Angers had two strong at bats for us. Sam Sierra had a base hit and Hannah and Nicole each had a hit and a RBI.
“Initially I was concerned having 21 8th graders, but they did a nice job, they gelled and got along with each other, making them an easy group to coach. On the field they had each other’s backs. Our starting nine showed that they could hang with high school kids, they rose to the challenge. I am looking forward to seeing what they can do next year. They were my first 4th-grade group of girls back when I started teaching. They were a lot of fun to coach. I think we all really enjoyed ourselves and it was great to see friendships grow among teammates. They always kept me laughing. I’ll miss them.”
Coach Alexander was assisted this spring by coach Ryan Doughty, whose assistance in practice and during games proved indispensable.