TAUNTON — This was not supposed to be the the year, Norton coach Wade Lizotte said.
Not after the graduation of ace Kelly Nelson, the state’s two-time Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, from a 21-2 squad.
But the fifth-seeded Lancers (19-4) continue to exceed expectations, their latest triumph a resounding 10-1 win against sixth-seeded Fairhaven for the Division 2 South championship at Jack Tripp Field in Taunton.
“It’s surreal,” Lizotte said. “We weren’t supposed to do this. Last year, we had the best team on paper, but these guys came out with this will to want to just continue this program moving forward.”
Nelson successor, junior Sofia Knopf, mowed down 12 Blue Devil batters for Norton, while shortstop Destiny McGrath went 2 for 3 out of the leadoff spot with a solo homer, three RBIs, and three runs scored. Madison Correia also went 2 for 3 and homered against Fairhaven (18-6).
It’s the third sectional title in the last five seasons for Norton, which will face North champion Gloucester in the state semifinals. The last Lancers’ state title came in 2006.