MELROSE SENIORS will be celebrating Senior Day this week. Pictured from left: coach Kelly Smith, Maddie Kozlowski, Morgan Levesque, Morgan Kirby, Caroline Perperian, Lauren Overlan, Ava Burns, Itia Figeuira and asst. coach Kaitlin Carson. (Courtesy Photo)
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—While playoffs may not be in the cards for Melrose High softball (final power rankings await) this week the team is focusing on honoring their seniors when they take part in Senior Day, as part of Mayor’s Cup action against Malden at Pine Banks on Wednesday, May 25 (post deadline). There, They will honor their 7 seniors: Maddie Kozlowski, Morgan Levesque, Morgan Kirby, Caroline Perperian, Lauren Overlan, Ava Burns and Itia Figueira.
While Melrose is sporting a modest record of 6-13, some teams have been known to qualify for playoffs based on strength of schedule, so never rule anything out. But nonetheless, Melrose hopes to save their best for last as they wind down their regular season against Malden on Senior Day.
Over the last few weeks, Melrose has earned some clutch league wins over Watertown and Stoneham. The first was a narrow 4-3 victory over on May 5 showed lots of strength and potential in their roster. Notes Melrose head coach Kelly Smith, “Watertown was a game right up until the end. It was a nice come back win after losing to them early in the season. It shows the improvement we made.”
Much has put on the shoulders of freshman pitcher Leah Fowke, after their #1 hurler Cassie Sleeper experienced a season-ending injury. The hard-working Fowke has done all she can. “Leah is strong on the mound and gaining confidence,” notes Smith. “And our outfield has been helping her out substantially with huge grabs from Ava Burns and Lauren Overlan.”
All season, Melrose has seen big bats and in recent games, home runs from Ava Burns, Maddie Kozlowski, Itia Figueria, and Ava Viola. Another highlight has been infield work from Maddie Tobin and Itia Figueira. “They dominate and show leadership in the infield,” says the coach.
Melrose picked up a massive 20-1 win against Stoneham on the road on Thursday, May 19, thanks in part to freshman Paige Crovo and junior Maddie Tobin who both went 5-5 in the effort. On the mound, it was a great day from Leah Fowke with 9K’s.
Melrose relied on a big RBI double in the first inning thanks to Itia Figueira, who had a solid performance both at plate and really held down the fort at 3rd base. Maddie Kozlowski had a big double and went 3-4 on the day, also errorless behind plate. She was relieved in duty by freshman GiGi Albuja in her varsity debut behind the plate. The frosh tossed a runner out on a stolen base to second as a highlight. Melrose also relied on solid play from Morgan Kirby and Morgan Levesque.
Recent games have showed lots of promise from young players in particular. One of those, according to Smith, is Ava Viola. “I’ve seen a huge improvement catching anything tossed her way over at first. She is dominating the right side and turning into a notable first basemen in Middlesex League.”
It’s the seniors who will be honored this week and hope to wrap up with the regular season with a win. Stay tuned.