TEWKSBURY — Tewksbury’s U16 Travel Softball Team had a weekend for the record books at the 30th Annual End of Year Tournament, going undefeated on home turf to win the first championship for a 16U team from Tewksbury in it’s illustrious 30-year history.
Head Coach Keith Stovesand has been coaching most, if not all, of this team from the age of 12.
The 12U and 14U teams improved year to year, and despite no championships to show for it, the girls still had the chance to develop into talented softball players.
Nine girls from Tewksbury and two girls from Somerville made up this year’s squad.
“It’s a big jump this year because you are dealing with really good high school [talent],” Stovesand said.
With no practice leading into the tournament due to rain and conflicting schedules, Stovesand’s message for his girls heading into the tournament was very simple. “Leave everything on the field, this is it, have fun,” he said.
That messaged seem to work for the girls, as they beat the Northeast Nightmare on Thursday by a score of 4-3, the Lowell Spinners 8-0 in five innings on Friday, and the Seacoast Hurricanes by a score of 10-8 after being down 8-0, good for a 3-0 record in pool play and the No. 2 seed heading into the weekend.
Tewksbury went on to beat the Hurricanes Red team by the score of 5-3, advancing to the championship game against a familiar opponent.
The 16U team played the North Country Spark, who had beat them soundly in game earlier this summer 15-0.
“They were pounding the ball on offense against us,” Stovesand said.
Although he isn’t a coach who kicks buckets and yells at the girls to fire them up, Stovesand wanted to push back against this team.
Boy, did they ever. A stellar performance from the girls led to a 3-0 shutout victory, giving the 16U girls the championship.
Stovesand says it was a true team effort on offense and defense, but a player that stood out to him was Amanda Moreira. In the semifinal and championship games, Moreira pitched a combined 14 innings, allowing only three runs on three hits.
He also sung praises for Madison Stovesand, Hayley Pote, Katie Ziko, and the entire team; they played strong defensively all weekend long.
“Line drives right at [infielders], diving for balls, [they] had an unbelievable effort,” said Stovesand.
Stovesand added that from he’s seen over the years, as teams from other towns dismantle their travel softball programs, that it’s becoming more rare for teams to have a core of girls from Tewksbury stay together over a period of time.
“Some of those girls had never held a first place trophy before,” said Stovesand. “It was an unbelievable experience for them, and to do it at home [and together as a group], it was very fitting.”
The Tewksbury 16U Girls Softball team includes Jorden Arolino, Jaclyn Dillon, Julia Dillon, Ashley Giordano, Ava Hardy, Emma Hiltz, Amanda Moreira, Ava Nickerson, Hayley Pote, Madison Stovesand, Paige Talbot, and Katie Ziko.
Keith Stovesand, Allen Hiltz, and Joe Nickerson coached the team.
Try outs for the 2020 Redmen Travel teams are posted online at tewksburygirlssosftball.com. An interested player’s age division will be determined on upon January 1, 2020.