Above: The 2022 EG Girls Softball team, with #3, Olivia’s number. Photo by Chuck Nadeau
It wasn’t quite a storybook ending for the EG Girls Softball team – they fell short in the playoffs – but their season was indeed something both remarkable and bittersweet. This was the team that in 2021 lost all but 2 games. This year, they went 16-2 in the regular season. They got bounced from the D2 winners bracket by Prout, which went on to win the championship (over Mount Hope, the team that beat EG in the one-loss bracket).
No doubt about it, the EG team is looking strong, with a lot of talent returning next year, but to hear both the coaches and players tell it, this year’s winning season was about Olivia Passaretti, the junior center fielder who died when her car was struck early Jan. 1 by a man now facing felony charges for his driving that night (read more HERE).
“After Olivia’s passing, I think our mindset changed – while we always wanted to be competitive, we also wanted to be able to honor, remember, and embrace her legacy,” said assistant coach Karen Lockhart before the playoffs.
“This season was such an amazing experience, having completely turned around from years past,” said co-captain Gianna Musella. “I am so grateful to have been part of a team that is so supportive of one another and has so much fun on and off the field. We played our hearts out this season knowing that Olivia was with us every step of the way.”
There were three captains this year – Abby Clarke and Emily Russell in addition to Musella.
“This season meant the world to me for so many reasons. For one, Gianna, Abby and I have had losing seasons every year we have been on the EGHS team. We won 1 or 2 games a year, so to go from that to a winning season and being the number one seed in the north was an incredible feeling and experience,” said Russell.
“It also meant a lot to us because of our teammate, Olivia Passaretti….,” she continued. “Olivia loved this team more than anything. Each practice and game she played her heart out and talked about how we were all a second family to her and that she just loved us all so much. Even though we were pretty bad last year, she was always so enthusiastic about every game we played. To turn this season around and keep winning for her was a dream come true. Every pitch, every play, every game, was all for her, and to be able to honor her like this was such an incredible experience for all of us this year.”
Russell added, “I am so thankful for this wonderful group of girls that I was able to play with this year. I have never felt closer to a team than I have with this one, and I am heartbroken to leave them. We all shared a love for softball and for Olivia which bonded us so closely. I love each and every one of them, and I’m so happy we did our best to make Olivia proud this season. It is truly one that I will not forget for as long as I live, and I know this team will go on to do great things in the years to come.”
Beautiful story and what a miraculous season! Congratulations to EG softball! Olivia is watching over you all, and I’m sure she’s deeply proud!
This team, these coaches, these parents, this community is forever family to us. I know Olivia was with you always and always so proud of you all encouraging you during each game. I’m so proud of this team of what they have accomplished through their heartache. That just shows the type of team they are and most importantly what’s in their hearts.
I’m so grateful I live in a community and brought my children up in a community that really “shows up” and bands together for each other. That is all Olivia wanted to see in her life. She wanted to see commitment and love and kindness. That is what this community is and what she would be so proud of.
I wish I could blink and have my baby girl back but I know she is with us and someday I will see her beautiful smile and beautiful brown eyes again. I will hear her say “hi marm” or “hey momma” I miss you baby girl. I love you so much. Be proud bc in your short life you made a huge impact on a lot of people in such positive ways! ❤️💔💔🙏🏻