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Young BVT Softball Team Starts Strong

The Blackstone Valley Tech softball team has rocketed to the top of the early standings in the Colonial Athletic League, success that comes as little surprise to head coach Denise Medaglia.
"I knew we were going to be good," she said. "We didn't really lose anyone from last year's team...and we have so much depth. Our whole lineup, we have seven out of 10 hitters who could either bunt or hit a home run. We are so versatile."
Medaglia said the depth has created a great deal of competition for playing time. "There are no starting positions that are safe and they all know that, it only makes us better," she said. "Many of our bench players are interchangeable with our starters, everyone is right up there and works hard because they know it's so competitive."
The competition fostered in practice has been missing from some of the Beavers' games. BVT started the week 5-1 overall, and 4-0 in the CAL. The offense has pounded out double-digit run totals in all five wins, three times crossing the plate north of 20 times. Valley Tech has been truly tested twice, a 5-4 loss to Nipmuc and an 11-7, 10-inning win over Monty Tech. At nearly 17 runs per game, the Beavers have the second highest scoring average in the district.
Junior Rachel Arnold has helped lead the way with a .652 average entering the week, 10 RBIs, and a .956 slugging percentage.
"She just pounds the ball, she is awesome," Medaglia said of Arnold, a catcher by trade who has been playing first base this year after senior first baseman Hannah Clark suffered a torn labrum in her hip during the basketball season. Medaglia said she expects Clark to return before the end of the season.
The head coach praised the play of sophomore centerfielder MacKenzie Gill, who stepped in to replace a four-year starter. Junior Emma Tomas has been a dual threat, hitting almost .600 with two home runs and two triples. In the circle, the pitcher is 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA.
Perhaps the biggest pleasant surprise of the season so far has been the play of first-year starter Erin Ward. The sophomore hit .583 though the first five games and leads the team in RBIs. "She has been killing it for us," Medaglia said. "She has been a quiet leader."
Medaglia said she expects her team will compete for the CAL title and be in the postseason again. She is hoping for a deep run that will likely go through another league opponent. "We always look forward to playing against the better teams in our league," she said. "Monty Tech, Worcester Tech, Assabet, we are all going to make the playoffs and probably face each other in the postseason."
Medaglia said playing tougher teams as the season progresses will also allow her squad to keep focused and play with an added sense of urgency.
"We want to make sure we focus every game, the whole game," she said. "We have a young team and a lot of them don't know what it's like to be in that pressure situation yet. So that's what we will try to work on in practice and in games, the ability to play every play like the game is on the line."




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