Above: The D2 state champion Avenger Softball team.
The win comes with nod to team’s ‘angel in the outfield’ Olivia Passaretti
The EGHS Girls Softball team overpowered Mt. Hope, 9-1, to take the Division 2 state championship Monday at Rhode Island College, the final step in a season of near perfection. The last time they won a state title was in 2014. The the final out of the game Monday – fly ball caught in centerfield – seemed fitting for this team that has played with Olivia Passaretti’s memory never far from their minds – Olivia, who played centerfield for the Avengers, was killed Jan. 1, 2022.
The team couldn’t help noting another sign: Olivia’s number was 3 and the runs came in 3s over three innings: 3 in the first, 3 in the second and 3 in the fourth.
“There’s so many different emotions,” said ace pitcher Ava Fairbanks after the game. “Happiness, sadness. Sad that she’s not here with us but I know she’s here in spirit. As you can see, 3-3-3, which was her number. She’s obviously here with us. It’s an amazing feeling to know that we won this for her.”
Among the many supporters at the RIC softball field Monday were Olivia’s mom, Janine Passaretti-Molloy, and her sister, EG softball alum Victoria Passaretti.
Ava Fairbanks pitched a 4-hit game, and was 2 for 4 at the plate, with a single and a triple. Catcher Brooke Fairbanks was also 2 for 4 at bat, with a double and a triple, as was Margaret Neville, with a single and a double. Sarah Levy and Samantha Lombardi both singled.
Mt. Hope got on the scoreboard in the 6th inning, with the single run.
“This whole season we worked so hard to get here and … it all paid off,” said Ava Fairbanks. “It’s the EG way. We get on the bus, we get psyched, we get locked in and we compete and hopefully come out on top.”
“They really really worked hard. That’s a good Mt. Hope team,” said Coach Rob Petrucci. “For us to come out and play the way that we did just speaks volumes to how dedicated the kids are…. It is an absolute joy to come in every day and work with this team. They just want to get it done. More than that, they just want to hang out with each other.”
Petrucci has been head coach at East Greenwich for 22 years, and was an assistant before that. Asst. Coach Karen Lockhart played for the Avengers herself, winning state championships in 2011 and 2012 before going on to play softball at Bates College.
“It’s just really special to come back and be able to contribute as a coach,” Lockhart said. “I vividly remember to win as a player … it’s just special to be able to watch the kids do the same thing.”
Coach Petrucci acknowledged the extra push they got this year and last.
“Olivia is here. She’s been our angel in the outfield for the last two years,” he said. “We know she’s just sending us a kiss, blowing the ball one way or another – she’s here, she’s here.”