SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

July 1, 2009

Beverly Panthers 12U traveling softball team a hit

After Sheri Russell sold the Mass Mutiny women's professional football club to Ernie Boch, Jr., she missed the experience of being part of a team.

So Dr. Russell, who runs the Russell Chiropractic and Sports Medicine Center in Beverly, found just what she was looking for as manager of the 12-and-Under Beverly Panthers fastpitch softball traveling team.

"I was involved with the Mutiny for nine years: the first five as sports medicine director and four as owner," said Russell, who is assisted on the Beverly squad by her coaches Ed Russell and Mary Devin. "Our football season was very long, but I loved it. The thing I really missed was the camaraderie."

Looking to give back to the community, Russell felt getting involved with the Beverly 12U team was a perfect fit. As someone who always loved the sport, she always wanted to become another female coach in the travel softball world.

"There aren't many women involved in coaching. We went to a tournament last weekend, and of the 24 teams only three had women coaches," she said. "There are a lot of dads involved, but not a lot of female role models — who I think are very important, especially since I didn't have a lot of them growing up."

Three traveling teams (12U, 14U, and 18U) are part of the Beverly Youth Softball program. The older teams get started a bit later than 12U because the girls also play for their respective high school teams.

"Tryouts are held to determine who makes the traveling squads, and we go to 6-7 tournaments through the summer," said Jamie Silvestri, president of Beverly Youth Softball. "Usually it's two in June, July, and August, with the possibility of a Labor Day Tourney in Salem.

Our program has been around for 10 years. Most of the Beverly High varsity players are graduates of our program."

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