SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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May 16, 2014

Fast Pitches: Pingree hits stride in time for postseason

The Pingree softball team has come full circle since its seniors first entered the school.

In four short seasons, the Highlanders have gone from having a losing record to Eastern Independent League champions due to their hard work and ability to believe in each other.

“We have eight senior starters who practice hard each day at perfecting their skills, and have the experience and patience to settle down during the game if situations go awry,” said Pingree head coach Jim MacLaughlin, who has coached the team since 1991. “They work well as a group, and they push each other to stay positive and excel during the season. They have confidence in each other that whatever may occur during an inning, they can rebound and take control in our next at-bat.”

Senior co-captain Christina Chalmers has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the EIL this season. Fellow co-captain Jill Witwicki and junior Kelsey Dion switch off as Chalmers’ backstop.

”Christina has been fantastic for us, along with Jill and Kelsey,” noted MacLaughlin. “She has a heavy fastball, a tricky changeup and can locate the ball well depending on the batter and situation. She is a crafty senior who doesn’t get rattled if she faces adversity during an inning.”

Gabby Muniz (third base), Haley Sabino (shortstop/first base) and Nora Sullivan (second base) round out the infield. If Witwicki does the catching, Dion moves to first and Sabino stays at her natural position at first base.

The outfield includes seniors Caroline Fay (right), Maria Garbarino (center) and Ali Novack (left).

Since dropping their first game of the season (12-0 to Governor’s Academy), the Highlanders have put together a dozen wins in a row — including Wednesday’s victory over Concord Academy, 15-0.

The early season loss gave Pingree a chance to make some adjustments and change things around.

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