After an extended streak of excellence by the Green Wave softball team, it would have been understandable to view 2022 as a bridge year.
The roster has seen significant turnover post-pandemic. Underclassmen are featured up and down the lineup, including two 8th graders. And the team’s only senior opted not to play last year.
Yet here they are again on another deep postseason run, just three wins away from another state title. Abington will play Waconah Regional on Saturday at 3 p.m., in the MIAA Division 4 state quarterfinals.
“We’ve had to work hard and we’ve had to earn everything we’ve gotten,” said Green Wave Coach Jenna Olem, who is finishing her second year behind the bench. “It’s something I said to them at the start at the tournament, ‘We’ve earned our right to be here by grinding through a lot of tough moments.'”
Abington finished the season 16-4, and was ranked #6 in the state among all Division 4 softball teams. They were the highest ranked Green Wave athletic program this spring.
Co-captains Madison Perry and Kasie Bailey credit the team’s pitching and defense, as well as good team chemistry and a lunch pail work ethic.
“It’s just sticking together as a team, and working together to accomplish this,” said Perry, a junior. “We’ve really been working hard.”
“Everybody comes to practice every day and gives 100 percent,” said Bailey, a sophomore.
Tuesday’s 4-1 tournament victory over Seekonk exemplified their get-tough approach. In that game, Seekonk took a 1-0 lead in the top of the 4th, and had runners on second and third with no outs. The Green Wave, led by South Shore League All-Star pitcher Shannon Varvitsiotis, buckled down, stranded the runners, and then scored four runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Ball game.
“Shannon just always gets us out of jams,” said Perry. “Our defense has been on point.”
Varvitsiotis finished the season with a 15-3 record, 137 strikeouts in 98 innings, and a 2.00 ERA.
The Green Wave has also used team bonding events to bring everyone together.
“It makes it a very positive environment,” said Perry, who wracked up a .526 batting average, with 15 RBI, 23 runs scored, and just 5 strikeouts. Defensively, she didn’t commit an error in the outfield all season.
Olem said team chemistry has played a role.
“They really get along well,” she said. “They’re really team oriented. Nobody cares who gets the credit.”
Second basemen and clean-up hitter Calli Pineau has been the Green Wave’s offensive leader and the team’s other South Shore League All-Star. The junior batted .471 in 21 games, with 4 triples, 4 homers, 28 RBIs, and an .857 slugging percentage.
Olem said Meg McCann, the team’s lone senior, has been the team’s “glue guy.”
“Shes really good at keeping calm and keeping everyone together,” she said. “We do have a younger team.”
This year’s Green Wave team includes two eighth graders, Bella Abrams and Elsie Testa, who not only have earned playing time but have been regular contributors to team success.
“[Abrams] has been a spark on offense. She seems to always have been able to make the right play, get bunts down when we need it,” said Olem. “She’s just really smart. She plays above her age.”
Testa serves as the team’s back-up pitcher.
“She’s done a great job coming in for Shannon, and starting some games,” said Olem. “She’s very, very poised, and I’d also say very mature for her age.”
The 2022 schedule included a few non-league games outside the South Shore. Those longer bus rides also helped with team cohesiveness, Olem said. Now the Green Wave face their longest bus ride of their season by far; Waconah Regional is located in the Berkshire town of Dalton, a nearly 3-hour ride from Abington.
“I say if we’re going all the way there we might as well get that win,” said Olem.