O’Neill to lead Melrose; team’s home opener on Tuesday 

Published April 5, 2019


MELROSE—The Melrose High softball team returns after another winning and playoff-qualifying season in 2018, this time with a new coach. 

Kelly O’Neill will lead Melrose’s campaign this season. The Melrose native and educator is not unfamiliar with the players as (she is also a coach of basketball and volleyball) and she replaces one-year coach Tawny Palmieri, who brought Melrose to a first-round playoff game against Marblehead. While Melrose lost last May, the battle-tested Lady Raiders return with postseason experience under their belt, which puts O’Neill in the driver’s seat.   

Solo captain Jill Stone, a senior, returns to lead a youthful Lady Raider team. Stone has been the mainstay in the pitching unit for several seasons and will be counted to keep Melrose competitive in an always tough Middlesex League. 

“Jill looks great, she’s been the bulk of our pitching since her sophomore year and is ready to go,” says O’Neill. “She’s also going to be a large part of our hitting too.”

HURLER JILL Stone returns for her senior season for the 2019 Melrose High softball team, who start their season this week. (file photo)

Another standout returning player is their shortstop, Rebecca Dumont, a junior whose taken command of the infield since freshmen year. “Rebecca is a player who competes in club ball,” says the coach. “She’s really quick and a reliable slap hitter for us.” 

New pitcher Clara Martin will help relieve Stone on the mound. Says the coach, “Clara did some work on the offseason and is ready.”

Looking solid at second base is junior Mary Kate Mahoney. “She’s sharp and doing it all there,” reports O’Neill. 

Expect some solid hitting from Briana Stanton, Olivia Colon, Sofia George and Collette Skinner. Sisters Adrianna Centrella and Sofia Centrella will see time in the infield and outfield, respectively. 

O’Neill, aided by coaches Ashley Baldwin and Buddy O’Neill, likes the cohesive unit she sees on the field. “This is a great group of girls who worked hard on the offseason to get better, and they are good chemistry on the field.”

In terms of competition, Melrose will always be on their toes against large competitors such as Arlington and Woburn, while games against Burlington and Wakefield are always competitive. 

“The large will pose a challenge, but we hope to see where we really fit against our Freedom rivals,” says O’Neill. “We’re looking forward to getting started.”