Brownies primed for championship run

Lauren Brodeur is one of two very good pitchers on the Agawam roster.
Reminder Publications photo by Chris Maza
April 11, 2012

By Chris Maza

AGAWAM — After coming so close in 2011, the Agawam High School softball team is primed for another run at a Western Massachusetts championship.

Last season, the Brownies, the second seed in the tournament, fell 2-0 to top-seeded defending champion Amherst thanks to two unearned runs in the first inning.

This year head coach Kathy Georgina expects her team, chock full of experience, including six seniors, will take the lessons learned from that season and apply them toward a championship bid.

"I think it will definitely help. The experience is definitely on our side," she said. "I think in big games the nerves will be a little bit less because they had some playoff experience last year."

Among the most notable returning seniors for the Brownies is pitcher Danielle Circosta, who has started off the season healthy and strong, posting seven hitless shutout innings in her first two appearances of the season, including a five-inning no-hitter against Holyoke. She also blasted a home run in that game.

Circosta and junior hurler Lauren Brodeur make for a dangerous tandem in the circle, while their battery mate Rielly Weiners enters her junior year as a hitter with clout in the middle of a lineup with more than its share of offensive talent to support its strong pitching.

Circosta's sister Paige, a junior, has provided an early spark for the Brownies offensively, hitting three home runs in the first two games of the season, while Faith Rheault has proven to be dangerous with the bat as well.

Senior Rebecca Fondakowski will also be relied upon in the lineup and defensively in the outfield.

The bats fell silent for the Brownies in a tough 1-0 loss to East Longmeadow in the third game of the season after torching their first two opponents for 34 runs in the first two contests. Georgina doesn't expect that to carry on, however.

"I don't know what happened. East Longmeadow has a good pitcher and for whatever reason, we just couldn't get the bats going," Georgina said. "More often than not I think we're going to be able to score runs, though."

Brodeur and Circosta showed terrific poise against the Spartans, who Georgina called one of the top four teams in Western Massachusetts. Brodeur started the game, giving up just one run in the fourth inning after holding East Longmeadow hitless in the prior three frames. Circosta came in to relieve in the fifth, pitching two scoreless innings.

"I thought our pitchers did very well today against a very tough team," Georgina said. "That is going continue to be a big strength of ours this season."

Going forward, Georgina said she saw lessons to be learned from the Brownies' first loss of the season and expected that, like what was learned in last year's playoff run, the team would take those and make adjustments that ultimately will make them even more formidable.

"I see us doing well. We'll learn from this and we'll rebound," she said. "I think it's good that we lost a game. I definitely never expected an undefeated season. There are always teams out there that can step it up and play a great game on any given day. I think they were more prepared than us today and I think we'll definitely learn from it."

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