By Julian Cardillo
Revere softball coach Joe Ciccarello has one thing on his mind as his upstart Patriots team heads into the playoffs. “Win,” the longtime coach said enthusiastically ahead of the Lady Patriots playoff opener against Beverly on Friday afternoon.
The Patriots have been playing well beyond their years. They have four freshman starters, and Ciccarello had his doubts at the start of the season that his group would be able to get up to speed in time for the post-season.
This week the Boston Herald named them a potential upset-team in the bracket. “They have every right saying that,” said Ciccarello. “We are starting four freshmen.”
“However,” Ciccarello added, “Experience matters for something, but tough ball players can be any age. That’s what we feel like we will have to display – not getting too down or up during game.”
One of the biggest assets the Patriots have had both in competitive games and in practice this season has been their camaraderie. Ciccarello, who also coaches the Revere hockey team, believes his current crop of Lady Patriots is among the best to gel in his entire career. “I love this team,” he said. “They really do care about each other and put the team way over themselves. This year we have such tough kids that want to play so hard for each other that it really is fun to be around them.
“Every practice all you can hear when someone makes an error is ‘c’mon girls.’ Everyone picks each other up, and I never see a bad attitude on the bench … it says a lot about their character.”
Olivia McManus will start on the mound for the Patriots on Friday. Earlier this season, Revere took down Beverly 3-1. Ciccarello is expecting a different test this time around.
“They are a very sound team coming off a great two-game stretch in winning the Corning Tournament last weekend,” Ciccarello said of Beverly. “They hit, field and pitch really well, so we better play our best.”