No matter what high school season it is, Lauren Ramirez is training for softball. In addition to playing field hockey and basketball, the Dracut junior spends her softball offseason training at Planet Fastpitch, committing hours to pitching and hitting. Her dedication to softball has paid off this season, as Ramirez has propelled the No. 1 Middies to a 12-1 record while throwing two no-hitters.
Softball seems to run in the Ramirez family. Lauren’s younger twin sisters, Allison and Shannon, also start for the Middies, and their father Ray is the assistant coach.
“I like having my sisters playing with me,” said Ramirez. “I know I can count on them and talk to them about softball at home. I know my sisters will always be there for me.”
Sometimes sibling rivalry can help. Allison said her sister gives her inspiration.
“She’s always been the strongest pitchers I know. I look up to her,” said Allison. “I always try to be as good as her or better. She helps me because I always want to do better than her.”
In addition to the Ramirez family, the Middies have two other sets of sisters on the team. Seniors Cassie Durand and Amanda Vallente are joined by their freshman siblings, Samatha Durand and Emily Vallente.
“I think this year’s team seems to be a lot closer,” said Ray Ramirez. “The fact that three sets of sisters are on the team makes it a close-knit group. Chemistry has a lot to do with our success.”
Ray, who catches for his daughter in the offseason, said it’s rewarding seeing all of his daughters play together.
Lauren is sporting an impressive .098 ERA and has won all nine games she’s pitched. Coach George Roy said he feels confident when Lauren’s on the mound.
“Going into any game you know Lauren is going to keep you in it,” said Roy. “She’s a strikeout pitcher. You’re minimizing the plays in the field with her.”
Lauren credits her extra pitching time to her success this year. She’s worked to establish five pitches, including the changeup and rise ball.
“My pitches are a lot more developed,” she said. “I have a lot more pitches and I’m using them.”
In addition to being a star on the field, Lauren shines in the classroom. She’s in the top five percent of her class, another asset she brings to her team.
“She has the whole package,” said Roy. “She’s intelligent about the game. These kids were brought up knowing the game. All three of them know what’s going on in every situation, you don’t have to tell them.”
Allison added, “Lauren knows she has reliable people in the field when she’s pitching. I’m lucky because when you play with someone for a long time you make a connection, you know their style.”
Games of the week No. 3 King Philip at No. 14 Mansfield, Thursday, 3:30 p.m. - You don’t want to miss the Hockomock pitcher’s duel between KP’s Meg Rico and Mansfield’s Trish Hansen. The last time they met the Warriors edged the Hornets, 5-4.
No. 4 Lynn Classical at No. 3 King Philip, Friday, 7 p.m. - Will Lynn Classical be able to keep up its perfect winning streak? These two state powerhouses will battle it out under the lights in Plainville.
No. 10 Central Catholic at No. 9 Chelmsford, Wednesday, 7 p.m. - The last time these top North teams met, Chelmsford topped C-C, 6-4.
No. 17 North Reading at No. 16 Masconomet, Wednesday, 3:45 p.m. - These North teams both have minimal losses.