The juggernaut Lynn Classical softball squad has established its own legacy with three straight Northeastern Conference crowns, a first for the program.
The seed for that success, however, goes much further back than the Rams’ current 34-game winning streak against conference foes.
Five years, in fact.
Six players, including seniors Katie Cuozzo and Jennie Erekson , were members of the U12 Wyoma Little League squad that reached the 2007 final of the New England Regional, one game shy of the World Series.
“That’s why this season is so special,” said Classical coach Chris Warren . “The girls have been working their tails off for the three-peat and they got it.
“This year, it’s similar to last year because we have a lot of the same faces, only losing one senior. But since only two other programs in the school’s history, both male, have done this before, it’s an incredible accomplishment.”
Classical is coming off a 21-3 season that ended with a 6-1 loss to Acton-Boxborough in the Division 1 North quarterfinals.
The Rams started the season 13-0, including an 8-0 victory over Malden on April 29, but the core group of the Classical squad isn’t fazed by high-pressure situations.
Their days in the youth program prepared them well.
“We had an incredibly competitive Little League that not too many towns had,” said Erekson, who starts at third base.
“We’ve worked so hard at it for so many years that we’re really playing for each other. We just want to continue to get better and go farther.”
The Lady Rams are averaging nearly 11 runs per game while yielding just two.
“Everyone of them is seasoned and cool,” said Revere coach Joe Ciccarello.
“We had them 1-1 in the top of the sixth. We were nervous it could explode at any minute, and it did, as they scored six runs in the top of the sixth,’’ he said. “They’ve been playing together for so long that they know someone is going to come through for them in tight situations. And that’s not something that is built in four years, but built from years of playing experience beyond high school.”
Four juniors, first baseman Olivia DeJoie , second baseman Samantha Earp , and outfielders Angela Erelli and Amy Blocksidge , were also members of the Wyoma squad.
Cuozzo, who no-hit host Salem High in a 13-0 five-inning win on Wednesday, agrees with that thought.
“We’ve all been playing together since Little League and our chemistry is great,” said Cuozzo, 7-0 in the circle this season.
“Even in Little League, the competition was really intense. We weren’t afraid of each other, but the talent was so good, that we competed at such a high level.”
The team chemistry, said Erekson, is “incredible.”
“We have tremendous confidence in each other, but as coach says, we take it one practice and one game at a time.”
“Their work ethic is tremendous and their chemistry is so good, that’s what carries us through tough situations. We went to Florida, to the Cape, we have team dinners because I feel that high school team chemistry is the biggest thing that gets overlooked.”
The 2-5 hitters in the lineup racked up 59 RBIs in the first 12 games, led by Mackenzie Coppinger (19), who is also 6-0 on the rubber.
But the Rams don’t have an easy remaining schedule. Classical faced two-time defending Division 1 state champion King Phillip on Friday, will have a rematch against Malden, and then plays conference foes Revere and Peabody.
Warren, in his 12th year, isn’t worried about how his squad will handle the pressure in those tough situations.
“We have something brewing that’s extremely special,” said Warren “We’re in a good position to play some big games and I like where we are right now.”
Danvers squad set for postseason run
After falling to Lynn Classical in the Division 2 North semifinals last season, the Danvers baseball team is in position to make another strong postseason run.
The Falcons were 10-3 through 13 games, including a 6-4 win over Classicl in eight innings.
“From the start of the season we’ve had a strong defense,” said coach Roger Day . “We’ve been pitching really well and have been really aggressive on the bases, and that’s why we’re in the position we are in.”
Danvers has received solid pitching from Scott Hovey , Ray Rocho , and Brandon Hyde .
“Our pitchers have gotten us through some tight situations,” said Day. “Scott Hovey and Ray Rocho have pitched very well for us and Brandon has been strong as well.”
But moving forward, Day knows that his Danvers squad still has some work to do.
“We haven’t hit great and we need to hit better, especially our six through nine spots,” said Day. “But our guys had a playoff experience when we lost to Peabody and with that loss, I think that they got the playoff taste, and are ready to play better baseball.”
Here and there
The Revere baseball team picked up its first victory since May of 2010 with a 9-5 victory over Winthrop on Monday. . . . Mack Flynn smashed a home run and cracked a triple to accumulate to lift Lowell Catholic past Marian, 5-2. . . . Shawsheen’s Pat Gallagher pitched a complete game, allowing five hits while striking out 12, to propel the Rams past Lynn Tech, 3-1.
Ryan MacInnis can be reached at ryan_macinns@uml.