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Saugus softball team takes pride in successful season

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The Saugus High School softball team suffered an early, first round exit in the state tournament last Saturday as they lost, 6-0, to Danvers. Danvers scored in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back, ending an entertaining Sachems season prematurely.

“All in all, I would say that this was a very good year for Saugus High School Softball,” said coach Steve Almquist. “As for the future of the team, things look very promising … We’re graduating three outstanding seniors, but we have some very capable underclassmen that I am confident will step up. The varsity experience that they received this year will be invaluable as we continue to grow the program.”

Freshman pitcher Caitlyn Wood – whom Almquist will expect more from next season – struck out eight for six innings. However, she gave up six runs (one unearned) on four hits. Wood finished the season with 160 strikeouts and a 3.33 ERA over 145 innings.

“Wood had an outstanding year on the mound and is only going to get better,” Almquist said. “She was a workhorse who started every game and pitched in all but two innings. She is a quiet kid, but an extremely tough competitor and wants the ball all the time.”

Saugus managed just one hit – a single by Katie Italiano in the fourth – but managed to play a clean game on defense despite a relentless Danvers offense.

“Despite the loss, I am extremely proud of this team,” Almquist said. “The kids played hard in every game and competed to the best of their ability.

He added, “Not much was expected of us this year but to make the tournament and end the season with a winning record in an extremely competitive NEC Conference says a lot about the character and hard work that these kids, as well as my coaching staff, put in.”

Saugus is also led by assistant coaches Amanda Naso, Joe Cimetti, Anthony Ascolese and Mike Shaw. “They don’t get the recognition nor the credit that they deserve,” said Almquist of his staff. “Without their efforts, this team would in no way have been as successful as we were the past two years.”

Saugus will graduate captains Alex Almquist and Caity Sheehan as well as Katie Italiano. “I cannot say enough good things about these kids; they epitomize what it is to be a student athlete,” Almquist said. “They are high character individuals who are leaders in the classroom and on the field and they have helped to shape the foundation of this program. My only regret in coaching them is that their time in a Sachem uniform went by way too fast and I won’t have the privilege of having them around for another few years.”

For the second year in a row, Almquist was the team’s leading hitter with a .456 average. She was also the team leader in RBIs with 19 and walks with 17. In addition, she was tied for the team lead in hits with 26 and second on the team in runs scored with 14.

In addition, Sheehan and Almquist were named to the NEC All Star Team for the second year in a row. This is the fourth time for Sheehan and the second time for Almquist. Both players will play in the 21st Annual Agganis All Star Softball Game, which will be held on Sunday, June 25 at noon at Fraser Field in Lynn.

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