By Kevin Quinn
For the first time in seven years, a softball team other than Norwood won the Herget division. After defeating Norwood 9-3 on Wednesday, May 24, the Rebels officially clinched the Herget Division. However, in the Division 1 South MIAA Championship Tournament on Saturday, May 3 #10 Norwood eliminated #7 Walpole by a score of 13-10.
“At the beginning of the season, we set the goal to win the Herget and from that day forward, we fought really hard every day to make that goal a reality. We had some tough games that brought us together as a team and I am really proud that this season was one of the best seasons Walpole Softball has ever had,” said senior Tess Lawlor.
The Rebels went 13-3 in the Bay State Conference. However, their toughest game was their non-league game against King Philip where Walpole lost 11-8 on April 19. “The game against KP was really important. It was very early on in the season, and we were already working so well together as a team. We battled back against one of the best teams in the state and almost came out with the win — it showed us that we can battle with anyone going forward,” said Head Coach Rachael Sprague.
Sprague contributed this season’s success to a return to fundamentals, especially offense in the preseason. “I think we always approach [each season] the same — focusing on sound mechanics and working on communicating well on and off the field. I wanted to pick up where we left off at the end of last year which was with really strong offense, so we did a lot of hitting indoors before the fields were ready and I think it really paid off,” said Sprague.
In the second round of the state tournament, the #7 Walpole lost to #10 Norwood by a score of 13-10.
“Honestly, losing to Norwood after an incredible season was a slap in the face. If we had lost the way we did to any other team, I wouldn’t be as upset, but since it was our rival, it really stung,” said Lawlor.