It’s the first week of May, it’s just after 2:30pm, the sun is shining and ballparks around the city are filling with young athletes waiting to stretch their muscles and show their stuff on the diamond.
Longtime Crimson Tide softball coach Stacy Schiavo is rolling ground balls to the infielders while her assistants toss balls to batters standing ready at home plate stationed just steps below the main entrance of Everett High School.
Outfielders call to each other to recover the balls battered by contact while Schiavo shouts a reminder of form to a group of girls taking swipes at the balls rolling their way.
That scene was common last year.
This year, there’s no such scene to be seen.
Instead of softball and sunshine on the diamond, the spring of 2020 is sport-less as playing fields remain closed to the public.
Athletes and coaches alike are being forced to remain apart while remaining active.
In essence, coaches are not coaching this season. At least not in the traditional ways that we consider normal.
Coaching on the field this spring has forcibly taken a benching to coaching from afar. Something coach Schiavo and her staff have tried their best to do at a time when being close is hard.
For the second consecutive year – and the 20th time over the past 21 seasons – Everett High School softball will compete for a state championship in the division 1 MIAA tournament.
The Lady Tide (11-6) picked up their 10th win, the magic number to clinch a playoff berth, with a, 14-0, thrashing of Waltham on Friday. They followed that triumph up on Saturday in Salem, coming out on top, 9-6, behind timely hitting (10 hits in the second inning) and a strong performance on the mound.
Friday’s victory over Waltham was the cherry on top for a small group of seniors that were honored before the game as part of the team’s Senior Night celebration at Glendale Park. Included in the group of graduating athletes were four-year starter Kaylee Nearen, Yalixa Colon, Rachel Zullo and Sidney Hennessey.
The bullpen combination of Ariana Garay (7-0, 1.83 ERA), who picked up her second shutout in the win over Waltham, and Celeste Fuccillo, who fanned 9 batters against Salem and leads the team with 50 Ks, proved to be the driving forces in both wins.