Douglas softball team eyes another tournament run
By CHRISTOPHER TREMBLAY, Staff Sports Writer
The Douglas softball team has advanced into the tournament for the past four seasons only to lose in the first round of the Division 2 Central Mass Tournament in 2018, 2019 and 2021 (there was no season in 2020 due to Covid). Last year in the Division 5 State Tournament the Tigers upset Rockport 10-0 in the first round before losing to number six seed Hoosac Valley 2-1 in a tough-fought battle in the next round. This year Douglas is looking to go further.
“We are a relatively young team coming into the season and will need to work through some stuff,” Douglas Coach John Furno said. “But once they become confident then this team is going to be one to look out for and who knows what they’ll be able to accomplish in the tournament.”
Due to graduation the Tigers only lost their first baseman and shortstop as they enter this season, but Furno believes that he has the talent to fill in those vacancies. Eighth grader Emma Kagels will slide over from second base to take over the shortstop hole and according to the coach has picked up the position rather quickly.
First base is currently being manned by sophomore Madison McDermott, the team’s usual number one pitcher. McDermott is still recovering at this writing and will not take the circle until she is fully healed. In the meantime, the team’s regular first baseman junior Emilee Hamlen has been holding down the pitching duties.
“Emilee has been doing a great job in getting us through. She brings a much different style than Maddy; she relies on her movement and hitting her spots,” Furno said. “Maddy led all of Central Mass in strikeouts last year and throws gas.”
Furno is hoping to have McDermott back in the circle by mid-April and once she does return he’ll take it game by game to see which girl gets the starting nod.
Behind the plate, one of the strongest catchers in the Dual Valley Conference according to the coach will be another eighth grader in Alya McDermott. The younger of the McDermott sisters will not only provide a strong presence behind the plate, but she will also lead off for the Tigers. She is a solid contact hitter who gets on base more times than not and once there she provides the team with great base running skills.
Freshman McKenna Chiasson will handle the hot corner for the Tigers this season after playing the outfield last year.
“It’s a big adjustment moving from the outfield to the infield, but she has done well and fitting in quite nicely,” Furno said.
Senior Shaylyn Emanuel will slide into centerfield to provide the Tigers with leadership in the outfield, as well as giving the two corner outfielders any help that they may need. Seventh grade twins Addison and Jasmine Trudeau will be flanking Emanuel on either side out there. The Trudeau twins are also working on their pitching and catching skills to bolster the team’s depth for the future.
Ariana Delgardo, another eighth grader, will be taking over at second base. Although a first-time softball player, Delgardo is an athletic individual who also plays basketball and soccer.
Rounding out the team are outfielders Emily Torres, Alana Chang, Natalie Reade, and McKenzie Johnson.
Furno is looking for his young team to become fundamentally strong with their skills as the season progresses and with this being a daily thing at practice he is sure that it will eventually happen. After getting their skills in place the team’s goal is to once again advance into the State Tournament, where they have proven in the past that anything is possible.
Douglas opened the season 0-2 with losses to Uxbridge and Advanced Math and Science, but this is what the Ccach figured. If things go as planned Douglas will turn things around and make a run at the Tournament.