SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 10, 2013

Fast Pitches: Marblehead's Messinger has field day against Gloucester


The Salem News

---- — Fast Pitches

Gianna Addario

It seemed like a rarity last year when then Marblehead freshman Emily Messinger hit five home runs in a single season. As the squad’s Offensive Player of the Year, she batted .481 with 26 hits in her first-season as a varsity player

This year, Messinger proved that her hitting capability isn’t just a one shot deal and that in fact she’s one of the biggest offensive threats in the Northeastern Conference. Messinger hit three fence-clearing home runs in the Magicians’, 10-5 win over Gloucester last weekend.

“She is only going to get better,” Marblehead head coach Johnny Gold said of Messinger. “Emily’s only 15 and in a season and a half, she already has 11 home runs, which is amazing for a young player.

“It’s a lot of fun to coach her and I have to try not to expect too much from a young player, which can be challenging. I want to make sure she keeps taking good swings and not start to over swing. Her mechanics are so good that I just keep reminding her to make good contact and stay with in her swing and continue to drive the ball.”

Gold said that in all of his years of coaching he’s never had a player hit three home runs in a single game.

Messinger hit a two-run bomb to center field in the first, a three-run homer to left in the second inning and finished with six RBI in the fifth when she jacked her third home run of the game — this time to right field.

“When I get up to the plate I try not to really think,” Messinger said of her technique. “I find that when I’m trying to remember all my mechanics, I mess up because I’m thinking of that rather then focusing on the game. One thing I try to avoid thinking about is trying to smash the ball, or thinking about my previous hits.”

So far this season, she’s batting .430, with six homers, four triples and 16 RBI. Part of her success, Messinger says comes from the fact that she’s plays ball all year round.

“Part of my success has to do the summer team I play for (Northeast Hurricanes),” explained Messinger. “The other part of it is that I’m always trying to improve. After some games and practices I’ll come home and take a few buckets in the cage.

“Another contributing factor is that I’ve been playing for a long time so I have a lot of experience. I’ve played at all levels and seen all different types of pitchers so I don’t see many new things.”

The sophomore catcher is just as reliable behind the plate as she is slugging. Messinger has a very strong arm is getting better every game with blocking and calling the pitches.

Messingers’ clutch hitting has peaked at the right time of the season, as the young Magicians are undefeated in the month of May with wins over Revere, Gloucester, Salem and Saugus.

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Danvers’ Kendall Meehan threw her eighth shutout of the season on Wednesday night against Swampscott. Meehan went the distance with five strikeouts and allowed five hits for her 12th win of the season.

The Falcons (12-0) qualified for the postseason after defeating Salem, 5-1 last week. Since head coach Tara Petrocelli took over 10 years ago, Danvers has made the tournament every season.

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GAME CHANGE: The Marblehead-Danvers games scheduled for tomorrow afternoon has been moved to next Thursday, May 16 (5 p.m.) at Great Oak Park in Danvers.

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If you’re not busy tomorrow, be sure to swing by Bishop Fenwick High school and support the softball team. The Crusaders are holding a carwash from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in the circle of the school, five dollars per vehicle. Fenwick is also hosting a “pub bash” fundraiser tomorrow afternoon at The Onion Town Grill in Peabody (3 p.m. - 7 p.m.), proceeds will go to the softball team.

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A big congratulations goes to Ipswich’s legendary coach, Doug Woodworth who coached his 500th career game against Masco a few weeks back. Woodworth (263-241 overall record), now in his 29th year with the Tigers, led his teams to six Cape Ann League titles.

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Yesterday’s Beverly home game against Revere got called in the fourth inning due to rain and will restart in its entirety on Monday (4 p.m.).

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Fast Pitches, a column on North Shore high school softball, runs every Friday during the spring season in The Salem News. Contact Gianna Addario at GAddario@salemnews.com, 978-338-2615 and follow her on Twitter @GiannaAddarioSN.