A Royal Road: Classical Softball Team Will Test Its Championship Mettle in Nonleague Clash Vs. King Philip

Chris Warren must know that his Lynn Classical softball team is going to be very, very good in 2012.

Warren has scheduled the toughest team in Massachusetts for a non-league game for Friday night, May 11: reigning two-time defending state champion King Philip Regional High School of Wrentham.

It’s already being billed as the inter-sectional regular season game of the year. Classical, who was undefeated in the Northeastern Conference Large, returns everyone except All-Scholastic shortstop Hannah Byrne, who is now attending St. Anselm College. Captains Jennie Erekson, Chelsey Bartlett, Mackenzie Coppinger, and Katie Cuozzo will lead the star-studded Classical team that should be among the best on the North Shore.

King Philip was 26-0 last year and won the Division 1 state title. Meghan Rico, now a senior, struck out 19 batters in the state championship game [a 2-0 win over Amherst], including 10 in a row at one point. Rico has committed to Division 1 George Washington University.

“I called King Philip for a game and the coach got right back to me and wanted to set up a game,” said Warren. “It will be a nice test for us. King Philip is the state champion and if we want to see if we can be in that category, I think it will be a good opportunity for us to play them and test us as a team.”

Classical pitchers Coppinger or Cuozzo will likely take the mound against Rico, who received ESPN Boston’s inaugural “Miss Softball” award last year as the state’s top player.

In addition to King Phillip, Warren has also scheduled Greater Boston League powerhouse Malden and perennial Middlesex League contender Reading. And then there’s a possible showdown with powerful St. Mary’s High School in the annual John Holland Memorial Tournament on Memorial Day weekend at Grace Rogato Field. And don’t count out Lynn English, who should be much improved from a year ago with the addition of some incoming players from the New England champion 14-under Lynn Babe Ruth team.

Warren, whose team traveled to Disney World in Florida for some inter-state games at the start of last season, will welcome back his entire coaching staff including Lauren Phelps, Nicole Oak, Christine Nerich, and Christine Dean.

Classical athletic director Bill Devin said he supports Warren’s decision to play the top-ranked team in the state.

“I absolutely support Chris’s choice to play the best teams,” said Devin. “Playing against King Philip will obviously be a challenge for our girls, but Chris has run one of the best programs in the state the last ten years. He wants to step it up a notch with his non-league opponents and it will definitely help them for the tournament and they’re looking forward to it.”

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