North Adams Transcript
The Drury softball team traveled a bumpy road in order to get to today’s Western Massachusetts Division II semifinal game.
Ten games into the season, Drury looked to be a favorite to represent Berkshire County in the Western Mass. tournament. The Blue Devils started the season 9-1, and became the first Berkshire County team to clinch a postseason berth.
Then disaster struck.
Drury lost four straight, and five of its next six games.
"Drury beat Drury," coach Mary Ann Maroni said. "I honestly believe we lost focus, and then lost confidence."
In four of the losses, the Blue Devils committed three or more errors in a single inning to allow the opposition to take control of the game. Pittsfield, Wahconah, St. Joseph’s, Hoosac Valley and Mount Greylock all beat the Blue Devils in that span.
"We did so well in the beginning -- at 9-1-- we just made ourselves seem invincible," senior captain Lyndsey DeGrenier said. "We just had to get back to the little things. We started making all the plays and focusing on every play."
Although hard to tell at the time, the slump may have been a blessing in disguise for the Blue Devils.
"We went through that little spell where nothing went right, and lost a few close games," Maroni said. "I honestly do believe it built character, and made them want [to win] even more. The last few games, they’ve been playing terrific ball."
"We had a team talk, where we pretty much got scolded," sophomore pitcher Cat Record said. "We were told to get our act together."
Get their acts together they did. The Blue Devils finished the regular season with wins over Taconic and Pittsfield.
"We did a lot of team character building," senior Danielle Cardinal said. "We reinvented ourselves and came together. We got together and thought about what we wanted to get out of our season and how we wanted to go a lot further."
The Blue Devils’ coaching staff called the team meeting following the a 4-0 loss to Mount Greylock with two games remaining on the schedule.
"We sat down and talked about it and decided that some of the kids were just not putting in 100 percent," Maroni said. "They were able to redirect themselves."
Maroni credits DeGrenier with much of the turnaround.
"Lyndsey has been an absolutely wonderful captain this season," Maroni said. "She helped refocus the team, and showed them what high school ball is all about. It’s been like having another coach on the team."
To start the Western Mass. tournament, the Blue Devils dispatched in-county rival Hoosac Valley, 9-0 in the first round. In the quarterfinal, the Blue Devils shocked No. 1 Palmer, 3-2. Drury will now face Wahconah in the semifinal, today at 5 p.m. at UMass. Amherst.
"If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best," Maroni said before the Palmer game.
If the Blue Devils can eliminate the defending state champs, they will have a chance to play for the school’s fourth Western Mass. title since 2003. Hampshire and Frontier play in the other semifinal, which starts at 1 p.m.
To reach Sam Monroe: