The Tewksbury 12U Softball team is off to a red-hot start

The Tewksbury 12U Softball team is off to a red-hot start, which included winning its first 13 games before finally being defeated. (courtesy photo).

TEWKSBURY - The Tewksbury Redmen 12U team is off to what has become a typical blazing start for this particular group, winning 13 in a row.

The Redmen, who are coached by Rich Iandoli, finished 2019 with a 50-13 record, including many tournament victories, in what was their first year in the 12U division. In the 10U level, they were 34-16, two summers ago.

Tewksbury has shown it continues to get better with each passing year, as this year they got off to a 13-0 start, before suffering their first loss, this past weekend. The Redmen had extended their overall streak to 27 games prior to the loss.

Tewksbury continues to upend some of the best teams from all over New England. During the 13-0 start, this summer, they have outscored their opponents by a whopping 147-22. This while recording six shutouts, including three no-hitters, four one-hitters, and a pair of two-hitters.

The pitching staff is led by Alyx Rossi, who has amassed over 50 strikeouts in less than 30 innings. Her biggest accomplishment was a no-hitter.

Rossi will be a member of the Northeast USA Softball Team that plays in Oklahoma City in August, which is an amazing feat, as only a handful of girls from New England are chosen to represent the area.

Vanessa Iandoli, who would be a No. 1 pitcher on most teams, and is the youngest player on the team, has amassed over 30 strikeouts in 20 innings, including her own no-hitter (one error away from a perfect game).

Rossi and Iandoli also combined on a seven-inning, no-hitter, back on July 16.

Adding further to the pitching depth is Hannah Niemszyk, who would also be a staff ace on most pitching staffs. She has amassed over 30 strikeouts in just over 25 innings and has shown tremendous poise and improvement in 2020.

“This triple-headed monster is the arguably the best three-girl pitching rotation in all of Massachusetts, if not all of New England,” said Rich Iandoli.

The offense has been paced by Abby Tower and Grace Forsythe, who collectively are hitting just below .500, with over 35 hits and almost 40 RBI.

“Tower and Forsythe have been crushing the ball all over the field,” said Iandoli.

The top of the lineup, which is led by Rossi, Riley Trask and Niemszyk, set the table for Tower and Forsythe by being on base at an astounding pace. More than half their plate appearances result in being on base, and - combined - they have scored almost 60 runs between them.

“Newcomer Jenna Bacarri has been a great addition to the team with superb defense in center field,” said Iandoli. “Tracking balls like no other girl around while also hitting over .340 with unbelievable instincts and speed.”

The catching duties are held down by Brooke Khourie who has handled the pitching staff tremendously. She launched a home run out of Alumni Field, last weekend. “Brooke has shown so much growth over the last couple years and is the rock that hold everything together,” said Iandoli.

The top-of-the-line pitching staff gets a lot of help from the girls playing behind them in the infield and outfield.

“The defense has also been spot on with unbelievable middle infield play by shortstop Iandoli and second basemen Trask, who has looked slick grabbing the balls that do get put in play,” said the elder Iandoli. “Shelby McLaughlin, another newcomer this year, has been the all-over utility player, playing in all but two positions, thus far this season, and has been doing a tremendous job all around.”

Madison Paulding has started to come on as an invaluable hitter lower in the batting order, and has had some clutch hits and at bats, recently.

Rounding out the squad has been Tewksbury’s most-improved player of 2020, Jayme Martin, who worked hard all winter and has progressed up to her current higher spot in the lineup. She brings blazing speed and the ability to come up with many key hits.

The 12U Redmen play again this coming weekend at Field of Dreams in Tewksbury, including doubleheaders against the BNB Rox and Mass Renegades.

After this weekend, the teams head to Rhode Island, and then Chelmsford before returning back to Tewksbury at the end of August.

On Aug. 6, the 12U Redmen play the Firecrackers, from Dracut, right before the summer high school team plays the Woburn High team, at Hazel Field.

The Redmen are fielding six teams in 2020, including a 10U squad, two 12U teams, a 14U, and two 16U teams.

Tryouts for the 2021 teams are scheduled for Aug. 11, 17, 18, 24, and 27, at the Field of Dreams complex, in Tewksbury. Players from all over Massachusetts are invited to try out.

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