Classical Wins Northeastern Conference Championship

Byrne, talented junior class lead Rams to second straight crown

The 2011 Northeastern Conference Large champion Lynn Classical softball team is pictured above. Front row (from left) are Bobbi Dee Regan, Samantha Earp, Amy Blocksidge, Angela Erelli, and Danielle Moran. Middle row (from left) are head coach Chris Warren, Katie Cuozzo, Olivia DeJoie, Franki Galeazzi, and Jennie Erekson. Back row (from left) are Jerrica de los Santos, Adriana Raymond, Hannan Byrne, Chelsey Bartlett, and Makenzie Coppinger.

Hannah Byrne has lived up to expectations for the Lynn Classical softball team. The four-year starter and St. Anselm-bound senior has batted .500, fielded her position brilliantly at shortstop, and stands tall as a leading candidate for the Northeastern Conference Large MVP award.

But the foundation upon which Classical has built its second consecutive championship team may be its outstanding junior class.

Juniors Chelsey Bartlett, Jennie Erekson, Katie Cuozzo, and Makenzie Coppinger have been starting varsity players for three years and their individual emergence as stars has helped propel the Rams to a 15-1 record, 13-0 in the conference. Erekson and Coppinger are also captains sharing the leadership mantle with Byrne.

“Experience by far is the strength of our team,” said head coach Chris Warren.  “We have a lot of experience. This junior class has four players who have been in the starting lineup since freshman year.”

Bartlett, who is batting .450 and excelling at catcher, displayed her explosiveness at the plate with a seven-RBI performance versus Revere Saturday night.

Erekson has had a gold glove-caliber season at third base playing alongside Byrne in the infield. Erekson has also contributed some timely hits and RBIs.

Cuozzo and Coppinger have been standouts in the pitching department, combining for all 15 wins. Cuozzo has been red hot at the plate while Coppinger has also hit the ball well and has two home runs to her credit.

“We have two aces and they’ve done a great job picking up where Jen Garrity left off last year,” said Warren.

Sophomore Danielle Moran, an All-Star as a freshman, is having another solid season. Angela Erelli has made her presence felt as the starting rightfielder and owns a .380 batting average.

Olivia DeJoie is hitting over .400, handling the first base chores when Cuozzo takes the mound. Jerrica De Los Santos is hitting close to the .400 mark and has a home run.

Samantha Earp has been a tremendous addition to the team. Earp is having a superb year as the starting second baseman in addition to hitting over .400.

“Sam has been playing great defensively,” said Warren. “After a slow start with the bat, she’s hit very well since.”

Franki Galeazzi, the only freshman on the varsity roster, may be the team’s best slap hitter since Warren converted former NEC All-Star Paula McGinn to hitting from the left side.

Warren saw Galeazzi excel in her first season as a starter for the varsity basketball team.

“I knew Franki was an athlete and that she was fast, so my suggestion to her was that we were going to make her a slap hitter right away,” said Warren. “She’s excelled from the left side after being a righty her whole life. She’s been a tough out.”

Galeazzi is hitting a team-leading .545

Byrne is playing on her third championship team in four seasons.

“Her presence has been a big part of our program moving forward and winning three of the last four titles,” said Warren.

The Rams, who dropped a tough 2-0 decision Friday to Malden, will get another shot at the Golden Tornadoes this Friday. Then it’s on to the John Holland Tournament where a dream matchup of Classical and two-time defending state champion St. Mary’s could take place on Sunday pending semifinal wins by the two teams over Swampscott and English respectively.

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