Wahconah has a new keystone combo in softball


DALTON -- It can be tough to change positions in softball. It can be tough to be a freshman in an otherwise all-senior starting lineup.

Wahconah Regional second baseman Chloe Warren has both strikes against her as the freshman came in as a pitcher but was moved to second base. Like the player she has become, Warren hit that two-strike pitch safely and has become an integral piece of the Warriors' 2013 puzzle.

"I was pretty nervous out there with eight seniors," Warren said. "They all welcomed me and they made me feel that I was definitely part of the team."

It helps that the shortstop on the Warriors has gone through a similar transition.

Gabby Lavinio plays shortstop in the summer, but she came up to the Warriors as the catcher. Lavinio moved to shortstop in her junior year and is now a veteran in the Wahconah infield. Lavinio said she's been able to help Warren with the transition from her former position to second base.

"She's like my big sister," said Warren. "She tells me what I'm doing wrong."

For her part, the senior shortstop said that she sees a little bit of herself in her new second baseman.

"She's a gamer just like me," Lavinio said before Wahconah took the field to play Taconic on Tuesday. "I think she's adjusted well. It's not like it was completely new to her."

Warren had been pitching since she was eight years old, but had also played a little bit of shortstop.

"It's kind of an unique situation," Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said. "Chloe Warren actually is a pitcher who we turned into a second baseman. We felt we needed a pitcher on the varsity just in case Becca [Grunow] needed a break.

"[Warren has] really come into her own at second base."

Warren replaces Kelcie Yarmey, who was a three-year starter at second for Wahconah. Belcher said that Yarmey and Lavinio turned a fair amount of double plays last year, as defense is one of Wahconah's major calling cards.

With eight seniors, that second base hole was pretty glaring. But the freshman has patched the hole well.

Belcher said Warren fielded a lot of ground balls in the Wahconah gym before the team went outside and worked with Lavinio on playing around the bag.

So far, Warren has made one error. That's something she said becomes a learning experience.

The Warriors have yet to turn a double play, but that is on the agenda.

"We've tried," Warren said. "Every practice, we practice double plays."

Both Warren and Lavinio sound alike when they're asked about making the position switches. Both players say they are "all for the team," and whatever it takes to make Wahconah better, they'll do.

Ultimately, the question will be can Chloe Warren get back into the circle and pitch?

"I can't see into the future," said Belcher. "As of right now, Becca's doing a great job. For this year, [Warren will be] at second base. Going forward, after Becca graduates, we'll have to see where we're at."

For her part, Warren can't see into the future either, but wouldn't mind pitching again.

"I definitely do want to pitch again. It would fee awesome to get back on the mound," she said. "This is what the coach wants me to do, and this is what I'll do."

To reach Howard Herman:
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.


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