As a sophomore in 2008, Lesley University catcher Jodi Fralick of Woburn put together one of the finest seasons in the history of the women’s softball program. The Woburn High grad batted .503 with a single-season school record 73 hits, knocked in 47 runs, and scored 44 more. She was the unanimous choice as New England Collegiate Conference Player of the Year.
This season, her younger sister Jenna (inset) basked in the limelight for the Lynx.
Her overall numbers (.440 average, 44 hits, 33 runs, 23 RBIs) were not as eye-popping as those of Jodi, but the NECC coaches were still impressed: She was named the 2012 Player of the Year.
Jen Benway, who directed Lesley to an 18-0 mark in conference play (28-10 overall), lauded Fralick’s “overall game.”
“Offensively she is a weapon and defensively she is a brick wall,” said the coach. “She is a game changer. You can’t teach some of the things she does. When the game is on the line, Jenna is going to do something about it. She will make a difference.’’
The switch-hitting Fralick led the NECC in batting with a robust .549 average and fielded her third base position error-free. She also was 11 for 11 (17-for-17 overall) in stolen base attempts.
“She meant so much to this team,’’ continued Benway. “She was everything, the glue that kept us together. In addition to her offense and defense, she could fly around the bases.
“She played like a senior. You could tell she’s been here four years. The experience and confidence were evident in everything she did.’’
Fralick, who like her older sister played socccer, basketball, and softball at Woburn High, was surprised when informed of the Player of the Year honor.
“I just never imagined my name would be next to an award like that,’’ she said. “The first thing I did was call my parents and my sister. It’s just not something I ever expected.
“I had a good year, yes, but those awards usually went to my sister, who was very deserving of them. I always believed that if you worked hard, good things would happen. I’m most appreciative of those that believed in me.
“Defense has always been my thing and I struggled a bit at the plate early on my freshman (.264) and sophomore (.290) years. I batted from the left side, but started hitting from the right as well and began slapping the ball around more. I had a lot of bat control this year. That allowed me to do whatever it took to move the runners along or get them home.’’
And she was able to share it all with her older sister, who served as an assistant coach at Lesley this season.
Playing under Jodi, she said, was fantastic.
“She just reminded me this was my senior year and to have fun,” added Fralick. “We really don't have a sibling rivalry. We’ve always wanted each other to do well, but she was one of my biggest supporters this year and pushed me to new heights.’’
Benway, who has coached both Fralicks, said there is little to differentiate the two.
“Jenna was in the shadow of Jodi for a long time, but she came into her own, especially this year, and deserves everything she gets,” said the coach.
“She's earned it. Jodi was a three hitter and a catcher and Jenna a third baseman and a nine hitter. But she was a tremendous threat. She was almost like a second leadoff hitter.’’
Salem State senior Nick Zolotas of Peabody has been chosen the top golfer in District 1 (Northeast) and will represent the regional at the NCAA Division 3 Championships this week at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. Zolotas averaged 73 and won both the Williams Invitational and New England Intercollegiate championships last fall and the Western New England and MASCAC titles this spring. . . .
Congratulations to the Northern Essex Community College baseball team, which thumped Bunker Hill CC, 16-4, to win the National Junior College Athletic Association Division XXI title. Among those named All-New England were third baseman Pat Parker of Wilmington, outfielder Manuel Cabral of Tewksbury, and pitcher Nick Goodin of Dracut. . . .
Merrimack junior Greg Melaugh of Billerica scored three times, but it wasn't enough as the Warrior men’s lacrosse team dropped a 10-7 decision to LeMoyne in the Northeast-10 Conference championship. . . . Bates senior catcher/infielder Leah Maciejewski of Tewksbury has been named to the Division 3 Capital One Academic All-District team. Maciejewski, a Fulbright scholar, had career highs in batting average (.391), runs (19), and RBIs (23), and will graduate with a 3.8 GPA with a double major in English and Spanish. . . . UMass-Lowell sophomore Rachel McCarthy of Reading has been selected to join USA Field Hockey’s New England High Performance Center. In two seasons, McCarthy has totaled 88 points in 47 career matches and has played in back-to-back NCAA championship games. Last year she led the NE-10 in scoring with 19 goals and 18 assists. . . . Wheaton has chosen senior Hal Landers of Salem, N.H., its male Athlete of the Year. Landers batted .335 with 22 RBIs and 34 runs scored and handled 107 chances in the outfield flawlessly.
John Vellante can be reached at JohnPVel@aol.com.