By BOB YORK
There weren’t many blips on the Big Green girls softball team’s radar screen this spring, as it registered just three victories in 12 outings – but there were some.
The biggest blip – which took on the proportions of a 747 – was the result of a game against archrival Northfield Mount Hermon School during which Deerfield forced the Mercy Rule. The ruling drops the curtain on any softball game in which a team is leading its opponent by a minimum of 12 runs after five innings of play. On this particular day, game officials pulled the plug with the Big Green up, 18-3, in the fifth.
Despite the game being shortened by a pair of innings, tri-captain Hannah Insuik (’13) still managed to ring up some numbers many players would be envious of – if they could have mustered them over an entire season. During that abbreviated game, Insuik, the Big Green catcher who batted over .300 for the second straight season, paced the winning effort with three home runs and drove in eight runs. She would conclude the season by leading the team in both categories, slamming three homes and driving in 23 runs.
“It was quite a day,” said Insuik, as she reflected on the NMH game. “Games like those don’t come around too often, but I’m just happy that I was able to help my team win that day.”
Jamie Haddad (’12), another team captain, also carried a booming bat for the Deerfield nine this spring, as the All-League shortstop, who missed the last four games of the season due to a broken hand, sported a batting average north of the .300 plateau for the second consecutive season. She finished second on the team in home runs, with one, but according to coach Becca Melvoin, “it was a monster… it cleared the fence and landed in our math teacher Greg Meier’s back yard.” Haddad also wound up second in RBI with 18.
Another key member of this spring’s lineup was the Big Green’s other tri-captain, pitcher Willa Gustavson (’12). Despite a 3-9 record, “she pitched nearly every inning for us this spring,” said Melvoin, “and showed remarkable poise on the mound.” And for her efforts, she earned a berth on the All-League team and was named recipient of this year’s Deerfield Softball Award.
Caroline Baldwin (’14) was situated at second base and teamed with Haddad to supply Deerfield with a formidable pair of gloves to defend the middle portion of its infield. “While Molly Murphy (’15) took over at first and Kayla O’Conner (’14) matured into a strong third baseman to give us a strong infield,” said Melvoin. “And Becca Harrington also added her talents to the infield when she filled in for Jamie Haddad at shortstop for the last two weeks of the season.”
In the Big Green outfield, Melvoin liked “the new talent Dana Delaney (’13) brought to the team, “ as well as what Lily Elkin (13), Emmy Latham (’15), and Theresa Lucier (’15).
With the departure of just two members of this year’s roster – Haddad and Gustavson – it’s easy to see why Melvoin “can’t wait for next season to get started.
“We’re losing two huge contributors to this program in Jamie and Willa,” added the Big Green mentor, “but we have great reason to feel optimistic about the future.” And the optimism isn’t due solely to the fact that 10 of 12 players will return to the fold.
“A huge addition to the team this year was my assistant, … but really my co-coach … Danielle Chagnon,” said Melvoin. “Danielle was a phenomenal player at Bowdoin College and together, we elevated the level of play and got the team back to the basics. Danielle’s high level of skill and teaching expertise made the team much better and we can’t wait to coach together again next season.”
Adding to Melvoin’s eagerness to get the ball rolling once again is a list of names that will be added to next year’s roster, including a pair of proven freshman pitchers: Amanda Deskavich and Elizabeth Stankovich. Taylor Morash, another incoming freshman, “has outstanding potential as a middle infielder,” according to Melvoin.