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Pitching Duo Leads Milford Softball

In an interesting paradox, Milford High softball coach Steve DiVitto heads into the 2016 season with a team that has both youth and experience. Nowhere is this more evident than in the circle, where junior Ali Atherton and sophomore Kelley Reichert are once again expected to shoulder the load as they did last year for a squad that went 19-4 and won the Hockomock League's Davenport Division.
"I think this is the year Ali really takes that step to being an elite pitcher, not just in the Hock, but in the state," DiVitto said. "She has been working at her game and worked out tirelessly during the offseason and it shows."
After seeing her pitch during the first week of practice, DiVitto said Atherton's performance was "very, very encouraging." The junior went 10-3 last season with 70 strikeouts in 96 innings pitched. Reichert worked 54.2 innings, and finished the year with a 9-1 record.
"She pitched a bunch last year and she is going to do the same this year," DiVitto said of Reichert. "I like to split the workload. I think it's important when you have two girls who can shoulder it and you use that to your advantage so when playoff time comes around, they are both fresh. We will need them both to contribute."
Both pitchers are right handed, but their coach said there are a number of differences between the two.
"Ali is a bit more of a power pitcher, she needs to use her fastball and she has really been working on her drop to have something to go with that fastball," DiVitto said. "Kelley is a strike machine. She throws a lot of strikes, she attacks the zone and attacks the zone low. She has a great change up as well. They really contrast each other."
Pitching will be crucial for the Scarlet Hawks, who start the season with championship aspirations. Milford graduated offensive powerhouses Allie Piergustavo and Taylor LeBrun, but does bring some big bats back to the 2016 lineup. Emily Piergustavo hit .440 last season with 21 RBIs and will return for her sophomore season. Senior Megan Jacques batted .348 last year and will see time at first base and behind the plate, and Sydney Pounds returns after hitting a robust .381 during her junior season last year.
"I think there are a lot of positive things here for this squad," DiVitto said. "It's exciting for me as a coach and they are excited to see what they can do."
The Milford players have a hashtag for this season, #26 — the number of games you play in order to make it all the way to the state final.
"The sky is the limit with this team," DiVitto said. "We like to set our goals high and I know it's tough, but they are an 'all in' group. They set the bar high and it shows with their work ethic."




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