Wachusett Stars shine brightly in Grafton Invitational

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GRAFTON, Mass. - Following their runner-up win at the 2011 Amateur Softball Association (ASA) State Tournament in North Dartmouth, the Wachusett Stars were excited to participate in the Grafton Invitational Softball Tournament on July 15.

The Wachusett Stars Softball team is a U10 Girls Fast Pitch Softball team made up of 12 very talented softball players from the Wachusett region, from the towns of Princeton, Rutland and Paxton.

The Grafton Tournament started early and ended late in the heat on Saturday for the Wachusett Stars with a 9 a.m. game against the Auburn Phantoms, a 1 PM game against the Shrewsbury Shockers and a 5 PM game against the Berkshire Force. At the end of Saturday the Stars were tied for the 1st place Seed, only to lose it to Grafton in a coin toss.

On Sunday the Stars came back to the fields ready for play and showed no mercy to the Berkshire Force in the morning game and the Shrewsbury Shockers in the afternoon, going undefeated into the championship game against the Grafton Diamonds.

Both teams were thrilled to have the opportunity to play each other in the championship game, after sitting and watching each other’s games and cheering for each other the day before.

Sportsmanship and friendship floated through the air between the teams and everyone was ready for a great game of softball – win or lose, and just like the friendly scrimmages the Stars played against the Diamonds back in April, the game was shaping up to be another great pitcher’s duel.

The Stars did manage to get a few hits during the game, only to strand them on the bases. However, we were thrilled to pull in one run in the 5th inning. Unfortunately we couldn’t hold them off and in the 6th and final inning of the game the Grafton Diamonds tied it up and the game went into International Overtime.

In the 7th inning the Stars put 3 more runs on the books and only needed 3 outs to take the victory.

It wasn’t a ‘gimme’ by any means, the Diamonds fought their way back with 2 more runs and the Stars had to dig deep and when there was 2 outs and the last batter was up to bat the hit was a dribbler up the middle that pitcher Courtney Lanpher quickly picked up and threw to 1st base for the final out of the game, a sweet, sweet victory for the Stars and the end of a very long, hot and beautiful weekend.

Both teams continued to share in good sportsmanship posing for pictures together during the trophy ceremony and singing happy birthday to our center right fielder, Abbygail Simes, who turned 10 on July 17.

The Wachusett Stars are truly All Stars and are extremely focused and performing at a very high level right now and loving every minute of it. The coaches and parents couldn’t be more proud. The team has amazing depth in their skills and abilities.

On defense the pitching staff is strong and diverse thanks to pitchers - Courtney Lanpher, Ellie Moore, Riley Wasiuk and Abby Simes and catcher – Rebecca Goodney; the infielders – Emma Trudeau at 1st base, Jordin Laraia at 2nd base, Riley Wasiuk at 3rd base and Ellie Moore & Courtney Lanpher at Shortstop and outfielders – Abby Simes & Rachel Vinton in center field, Taylor Gamble & Hannah Gagne-Lamoureaux in left field and Isabelle Lanpher in right field are working efficiently as a team and handling any action that comes their way.

The team’s offense is just as impressive with a batting line-up that is strong through and through. All the girls can bunt, hit singles, doubles, triples and homeruns on any given day. They all are capable of being the MVP of any game and each of them have driven in the runs with
base hits and all of them have had wonderful moments stealing bases safely and working the pitch count to their advantage.

Of course we can’t thank the coaching staff enough for the endless effort and energy they put into the team on and off the field. The coaches are parent volunteers made up of three dads and a mom.

Head Coach Jay Lanpher, Asst Coach – Chuck Moore, Asst Coach – Jim Goodney and Team Manager/Scorekeeper – Christine Trudeau have the commitment, synergy and skills that have promoted and fostered a platform for the players to excel from.

The player’s parents and families are the unsung heroes who support the team in any and all aspects needed from fundraising to carpooling. We are fortunate to have such a great group of people to share in the fun of the game.

I would be remiss if I didn’t share that the team is looking forward to participating in the Eastern National Championship Tournament in York PA on July 27 - 31st along with 12 other teams from the east coast, which include our friends from Abington, Grafton and Marlboro. The Stars qualified for the event after placing 2nd in States. It’s an experience that the girls will surely remember and the talent on the team has an opportunity to take it all the way to the top….and we are ready to give it our best effort to do so. But first the team is scheduled to
participate in the Marlboro Diamond Cat Classic 7/22-24 at the Baldelli & Farrell Field at Hildreth School in Marlboro MA. And last but not least, we will finish out the tournament season in August at the Tewksbury tournament 8/19-8/21 in Tewksbury MA.

The Stars have already had an amazing series thus far and it’s only mid July, win or lose from here on out, it’s been a satisfying and fun experience for all. The team plans to continue to practice throughout the fall and winter and will host open try-outs in the first quarter or 2012, looking for new talent to fill positions on the U10 team and field a U12 team for the 2012 summer tournament series.

For more information about the team, try-outs or sponsorship please contact, Jay Lanpher (C: 978-870-6643 / Email jpaaci@msn.com) or Christine Trudeau (C: 978-407-9671 / Email: christinetrudeau@yahoo.com).

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