The St. Mary’s High School softball team can win games on the mound, in the field, and in the batter’s box.
On Sunday it was the St. Mary’s offense that took prominence as the Spartans overpowered Whittier Tech of Haverhill to claim a convincing 7-3 victory and the Division 3 North sectional championship at Martin Field in Lowell.
Specifically, the 2-3-4 hitters in the St. Mary’s lineup – seniors Victoria Viger and Kaleigh Finigan, and sophomore Molly Doyle – were flat out unstoppable.
Viger, the No. 2 hitter and second baseman, reached base four times with three singles and a walk and scored three runs. Finigan had two hits, an RBI, and scored a run while Doyle, the cleanup hitter, did just that with three doubles and four RBIs.
Starting pitcher Brooke L’Abbe, middle reliever Jordan D’Orsi, and closer Mia Nowicki kept the potent hitting Wildcats in check. L’Abbe, a senior right-hander who been very efficient on the hill all season, yielded one run on two hits to pick up the victory as St. Mary’s built a 6-1 lead.
Leftfielder Alison Butler made two outstanding catches in left field, twice chasing down long fly balls to prevent extra basehits. Butler is looking to end her brilliant athletic career with a state championship ring, having led the girls hockey team to a title in March by scoring the winning goal at the Boston Garden.
Rightfielder Casey Fanning made a superb catch in the seventh inning when she raced in to snare a sinking line drive.
St. Mary’s coach Colleen Newbury has her team peaking in the post season after winning the John Holland Memorial Softball Tournament in Lynn. Newbury’s Spartans are playing the aggressive, fundamentally sound, heads-up style that characterized her own legendary career at Fenwick when she led the Crusaders to four consecutive state championships as an All-Scholastic shortstop.
“We are playing our best softball at the right time,” said Newbury. “It’s not the same person every day. The other day it was Butler and [Tatiana] Doucette and today it was Doyle and Viger, not to mention Finigan who had a couple of hits.”
Newbury said a come-from-behind 11-9 win over Cardinal Spellman may have been the launching point to what is now a Final Four appearance in quest of a state championship that continues against old nemesis Case High School.
“The Spellman game turned the tide to the team a little bit,” said Newbury. “We were down 9-1 and came back and won 11-9 against a really good club. Since then, we’ve been rolling, maybe not rolling but putting it together at the right time.”
Newbury’s program was making its eleventh appearance in the North Sectional finals in 13 years.