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Hillers softball finds footing heading into homestretch

by | May 13, 2024 | Sports

Tenley Winn

Sophomore Tenley Winn lines up a pitch during a recent game. PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Hopkinton High School softball coach Shannon Allberry-Yerardi said her team experienced some ups and downs through the first half of the 2024 schedule, but she added that she is pleased with the way the Hillers are coming together for the stretch run.

“We have been more consistent, we are stringing together hits and manufacturing runs, and our defense is really starting to jell and get comfortable with one another,” Allberry-Yerardi said. “I think the team trusts each other, they play together, and they genuinely like one another. I think that’s really helpful for team culture.”

The Hillers won seven of their first 12 games heading into May, putting the squad within reach of the state tournament. Allberry-Yerardi has seen several standout performances from her players, including junior captain Holly Paharik, who recently registered her 100th career hit.

“She has been one of our top players on both sides of the ball every year,” Allberry-Yerardi said of her shortstop. “To reach 100 hits is an incredible milestone, especially for a junior.”

Freshman Addy Walls has been a solid presence in the pitching circle, and Allberry-Yerardi said that she is getting more comfortable as she logs more innings as a ninth grader at the varsity level.

“There is a lot of pressure, but she is handling it very well,” the coach said.

Sophomore Tenley Winn has been a pleasant surprise as a starter at first base.

“She has been incredible,” Allberry-Yerardi said. “She is really supportive of everybody, she’s an excellent teammate, and she has gotten some clutch hits when we have needed it.”

Another sophomore, Caroline Ozmun, joined the program after playing baseball last year, and she has been one of the stronger hitters in the Hopkinton lineup.

Leading the way for the Hillers are the three captains, Paharik, junior Ashley Callery, and senior Caroline Kane.

“They are easily the best captains I have ever had to work with as a varsity head coach,” Allberry-Yerardi said. “And I think they are the reason our team culture has been so positive.

Hopkinton is hopeful that the positive momentum will help the team compete in the Large School Division of the Tri-Valley League. Allberry-Yerardi expressed confidence that the Hillers could make some noise in the TVL if things continue to go their way.

“We have a shot, but there are some incredibly competitive teams,” she said. “That is one of our goals, but we are going to have to work for it.”

After missing out on the tournament last year, Hopkinton is hoping to snag a spot this spring. Allberry-Yerardi called it the team’s top goal.

“We would like to make a deep run in the playoffs,” she said. “We are coming together, and that is definitely a possibility for us.”


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