SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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December 12, 2013

Danvers softball headed to Florida in April

There’s only one thing the Danvers High softball team is thinking about right now ... and it doesn’t have to do with any potential Christmas presents they might be receiving.

Instead, the Falcons are focused on their upcoming trip to Disney World in April and have been counting down the days since head coach Tara Petrocelli announced they would be playing in sunny Florida.

“We’re very excited,” said senior captain Kendall Meehan. “We haven’t stopped talking about it. It’s definitely going to be great spending so much time together. We just can’t wait for it.”

After a wildly successful regular season last year, Danvers (19-2 overall) won the Northeastern Conference title, went unbeaten in league play at 16-0 and earned the No. 1 seed in the Division 2 North state tournament. But they bowed out of the postseason quarterfinals to Tewksbury, and ever since have been itching for this season to begin.

The trip, which is scheduled for the week of April vacation, will feature three games as well as daily practices.

Petrocelli, who earned her 150th victory at DHS last spring and begins her 11th season there in 2014, also took her 2005 squad to Florida.

“After being successful in our area (in 2005) we decided to go to Disney to see how we stood up against competition out of our region, and we did quite well,” noted Petrocelli. “This was an invaluable experience for these players.

“Likewise, we have a very talented group of juniors and seniors and wanted to give them this opportunity. This team is incredibly close and every time I think they couldn’t be any closer, they prove me wrong. We have very strong leadership this year. We get to spend a ton of time together, which definitely will help with team chemistry.”

Meehan and fellow captains Devyn Downs (first base), Caitlin McBride (catcher) and Brittany Dougal (shortstop) were all starters on last year’s team. Meehan, who was named the 2013 Salem News Player of the Year, shown on the mound, throwing a perfect game against Lynn English and hurling 10 shutouts last spring.

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