2018-19 The Berkshire Eagle All Stars: Softball
Abby Wells, Wahconah, junior
The junior did it all for the 2019 Wahconah Warriors. It is no surprise what Wells did on the mound after a strong 2018 campaign, which featured an appearance in the Western Mass. D-II championship game, but when you take into account the pop of her bat, it's tough to find a better all-around player. The Warriors surrendered just 2.7 runs per game and the power Wells provided in the circle was the catalyst defensively. Coach Dustin Belcher moved Wells around in the lineup throughout the season. She spent time at leadoff because of her ability to consistently get on base and showcase her speed, and then he moved her into the middle of the order because of her home-run hitting power. There is plenty of talent throughout Berkshire County, but Wahconah's star shines a bit brighter than the rest.
Offensive Player of the Year
Natasha Shade, Pittsfield, senior
Shade has given opposing pitchers and defenses fits as the Generals have reached three-straight Western Mass. Division I championship games. As the leadoff hitter for Pittsfield, Shade uses her Ichiro Suzuki-like swing to put immense pressure on opposing defenses by slapping the ball around the field. Shade knocked her 100th career base hit in a 5 for 5 performance in the D-1 quarterfinals against Chicopee. Keep in mind, her impact doesn't end at the plate. Shade's aggressive base running forces pitchers to try to hold her on first base, but by the time a pitcher decides to send a pitch to the plate, Shade is almost always already standing on second. Pittsfield's offensive success revolves around speed and smart base running and Shade consistently sets the tone at the top of the order for the Generals.
Defensive Player of the Year
Gwendolyn Carpenter, Mount Everett, senior
The Mount Everett shortstop prides herself on defense and can do it all up the middle for the Eagles. Carpenter has the quickness to snag any ball headed her way, the arm to make any throw on the field, and the footwork to dance around runners sliding into second before firing to first for double plays.
"I love defense," Carpenter said during the regular season. "The hitting will always come around so defense is what we focus on."
Pitcher Faith Angell credits Mount Everett's lock-down defense for her confidence in the circle. The Eagles had an up-and-down season in terms of hitting, but still earned the second seed in the Western Mass. D-III tournament because of Angell's pitching and a veteran group of talented fielders, with Carpenter leading the charge.
Pitcher of the Year
Madi Puppolo, Hoosac Valley, sophomore
The Hoosac Valley Hurricanes made a run to the 2018 Western Mass. Division II semifinals with Puppolo in the circle - as a freshmen. Before the season, coach Mike Ameen was excited to see what Puppolo could do in her sophomore season and she was impressive, to say the least. She dazzles with her speed and accuracy, but Puppolo's most impressive trait has to be her consistency. Her confidence in herself and her teammates shows as the Hurricanes allowed just two runs per game en route to a 17-3 regular season record and another trip to the D-II semifinals.
Coach of the Year
The current group of six seniors on McCann Tech started from the bottom and worked their way to the top under coach Robin Finnegan. As freshmen, Meg Goyette, Aubrey Tetlow, Kalley Vanuni, Ayrian Quinones, Chasity Williams and Nicole Demastrie missed the playoffs by one game. Since then the girls have worked for coach Finnegan and the results prove it. As sophomores they made the Western Massachusetts Division III quarterfinals and then the semifinals as juniors. As seniors, Finnegan and this core took a wild ride that landed them in the championship game. Finnegan not only gets the most out of her players, but instills the passion and energy that this current core of Hornets display on a game-to-game basis. Along with the Western Mass. tournament, Finnegan's Hornets are fighting for a crown in the state vocational tournament.
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