SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

May 23, 2014

Fast pitches: Danvers, Masconomet built to compete every year

A highly successful season usually yields a perfect (or near-perfect) record or a state championship banner.

But what does it take to become a successful program? Is it a single player, a coach, or the team itself?

Sometimes success can’t always be defined in absolute terms— sometimes it’s the unexpected moments that make a team stand out above the rest.

Over the past few years, it’s names like the Danvers and Masconomet softball programs that we’ve seen splashed across the headlines in the spring months.

The Falcons, who earned their 10th Northeastern Conference Small title this season since head coach Tara Petrocelli came on board 11 years ago, finish out their regular season schedule this weekend after winning their last nine of 11 contests. They’ve had one of the most fundamentally sound defenses in the Salem News coverage area, no doubt due to Petrocelli’s coaching ability and emphasis on attention to detail.

This past week the Falcons turned two double plays: one against St. Mary’s of Lynn in the At-Bat-For-Buddy Tournament and the other against Marblehead on Monday.

”I think towards the beginning of the season we were a little slow,” said Petrocelli. “Now instead of doing one thing, we’re going one and two. We’ve been working hard in practice getting the second out if we can. When stuff like that starts to pay off this late in the season, then you know they’re doing something right.”

Over the last four years the Falcons have received tremendous contributions from pitcher Kendall Meehan, who has been nothing short of phenomenal. Before Meehan there was Ashley Burnham, a three-year captain and four-year starter for the Falcons. She hit .641 her senior year and went on to play Division 1 ball at James Madison University.

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