Above: Ava Fairbanks connects for a solo home run. Photos by Chuck Nadeau (find all his photos at chuckn.com).
This game can be summed up in two words: Ava Fairbanks. In her trips at bat, she singled, doubled, hit a solo homer, and then just to be different, she got hit by a pitch. All that and she pitched the 8 to 3 win over Toll Gate.
The game started off with a somber tone as a Toll Gate player presented a single rose to Coach Petrucci in honor of Olivia Passaretti, the EGHS junior softball player who died Jan. 1 after her car was hit by another. They walked to the spot in short center field and placed it on her number.
Then it was Ava’s turn to shine. She pitched three innings before the Titans were able to reach first. Then the bats started ringing as both teams started connecting.
The Avengers will end the regular season with an away game against West Warwick Friday but, with a 15-2 record, are already slotted in as #1 seed in Division II North for the playoffs, which begin next week.
“While we hesitate to celebrate, because there is still more we want to accomplish this season, we feel incredibly proud of the jump our team has made from last season to this,” said Asst. Coach Karen Lockhart. “Winning only 2 games last season to winning 15 and winning the division is an incredible accomplishment for the girls. They have worked so hard, and overcome so much this season already. 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.”
Lockhart said there were three aspects to their success so far: “consistently strong pitching, timely hitting, and having something bigger to play for. With Ava Fairbanks on top of her game on the mound, Brooke Fairbanks’ toughness behind the plate, and timely hitting throughout our lineup, we are excited for the new challenges that playoffs will bring. What Coach Petrucci and I love about our lineup, is that we have had big offensive days from pretty much 1 through 9 in our lineup. Everyone is contributing at the plate, and the hitting is contagious. Lastly, the energy on our team feels good right now, we have truly become a family these last few months in more ways than one.”
She added, “We know we will have our Angel in the outfield with us for the last couple of weeks. #3 is with us everywhere we go.”
From the Senior Night game earlier this week, via EG Athletics: