THE HORNETS welcome home Kristen Galvin after a home run in NR’s 16-5 win over Essex Tech in the Round of 16. Galvin hit for the cycle against the Hawks with a career-high 7 RBI. (Eric Evans Photo)



LAKEVILLE — The 2024 season came to an end for the North Reading High softball team on June 8 as they lost to host Apponequet Regional, 11-4, down in Lakeville in the MIAA Div. 3 State Tournament Quarterfinals on a warm, sunny day.

With that defeat, the 7th-seeded Hornets ended the year at 17-6 while 2nd-seeded Apponequet improved to 20-4 as they took on Hudson in the semifinal round on June 12 (result not available at press time).

“They have a good all-around team,” said Hornets head coach Nicole Zimmerman. “They are one of the top teams we have played all year.”

The Lakers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a run-scoring double by Marissa Kelly and a three-run homer by Kate Suneson. They increased their advantage to 6-0 on a two-run double by Kelly in the third.

North Reading got on the scoreboard in the fourth on a two-run homer by senior captain Kristen Galvin to center, making it 6-2.

However, an RBI single by Eva Zuber and a three-run shot by Caleigh Venuti made it 11-2 in a five-run Laker fourth to close the door on any realistic comeback threat.

The Hornets’ final two runs came on a two-run homer by senior captain Caitlin Reilly in the top of the fifth that also went to center field.

Lauren Bernaiche was the winning pitcher going all seven innings. She gave up four runs, four hits, no walks and she struck out 15.

“She was phenomenal,” admitted Zimmerman, about the senior. “She did a great job of keeping us off-balance.”

Senior captain Keely Hannon went 3.1 innings. She gave up 11 runs (nine earned), seven hits, four walks and she struck out none. The senior ended the year at 13-3 in the circle.

Sophomore Emilia Yeakel pitched the final 2.2 innings. She gave up no runs, one hit, three walks and she fanned one.


THE HORNETS celebrate their Round of 16 win over Essex Tech at NRHS. Pictured with pitcher Emilia Yeakel (29) is Caitlin Reilly (1) who had 3 hits including a home run and 2 RBI against the Hawks. Reilly also homered against Apponequet in the Quarterfinals. (Eric Evans Photo)


In the Round of 16, the Hornets rolled over Essex Tech, 16-5, on June 5.

In this game, the Hornets scored the game’s final seven runs to pull away.

The Hornet offense erupted for 19 hits off Hawk pitching led by Galvin who was a perfect 4 for 4 at the dish with a career-high seven runs batted in as she hit for her first-ever cycle.

“That was the best game she ever had,” stated Zimmerman. “She was unbelievable.”

The Hornets scored five times in the first, four times in the second, once in the third, once in the fourth, four times in the fifth and one more in the bottom of the sixth.

Essex Tech scored all five of their runs in the top of the third.

Caitlin Reilly was 3 for 4 with two RBI including a home run. Her sister, senior captain Olivia Reilly, was 2 for 4 with two RBI. Freshman Alivia Heck went 3 for 5 with one RBI as the Hornets had four multiple hitters.

Hannon was the winning pitcher going three innings. She gave up five runs, six hits, no walks and she struck out two.

Yeakel pitched the final four frames. She gave up no runs, one hit, one walk and she hit one batter. She struck out five.