Softball: Bristol Central keeps improving

By MICHAEL LETENDRE

STAFF WRITER

BRISTOL – The Bristol Central softball team might still be a bit on the youthful side but the program is growing by the game – and winning a few contests along the way as well this year.

And to date, the program has produced an outstanding 11-7 ledger that’s currently on a five-game winning streak – turning around a sub-.500 squad to move four games over that standard.

“They are awesome to coach,” said Central coach Monica Hayes of her squad.

The team has a large underclassman contingent and as the chemistry of the outfit continues to grow, continues to get experience and come together, those elusive victories aren’t so elusive anymore.

Central’s has already improved over its 9-12 ledger from 2018 and the team could win as many as 13 games this season if everything pans out.

And the return of Janessa Bartell – off a knee injury that forced her to miss early games in softball and all of her basketball season – has only provided a boost for the squad.

“They have such a good camaraderie,” said Hayes. “They’re really changing the culture here at Central with their effort, their attitude, and their body language. And it’s paying off.”

“Last year and the year before, those are things we started to put into place and now, they’re really starting to hold on to those ideas that we’re preaching in practice and within our team structure.”

During that five-game winning streak, the Rams earned victories against Platt (10-8), Bloomfield (15-0), Rocky Hill (9-7), East Hartford (8-3), and Plainville (9-8).

And in each game, the team was able to overcome adversity to seize those winning efforts.

Against Plainville, Central was trailing 6-3 but managed to turn out a one-run victory for the program’s fifth straight win.

There was more than a little perseverance shown in Plainville that day by the Rams.

Emily Ericson, Peyton Greger, and Bartell were the leaders at the plate that day in the dramatic turnaround against the Blue Devils.

And speaking of turnarounds, the Rams started the year off 2-4 and since that time, Central won nine of 12 games – getting the job done against any and all comers.

On May 8, Greger evened her record to 7-7 in Central’s two-run win over Platt as a six-run first inning did in the Panthers.

And in the next game, on May 10 against Bloomfield, Greger not only picked up a no-hitter but helped her squad qualify for the postseason for the second year in a row in the 15-0 win.

Again, a first inning explosion of runs by Central put Bloomfield behind the eight ball right from the start.

The current line-up sees Greger hitting the ball from the clean-up position and with Kayla Beaulieu leading off, Bartell, Kayla St. Onge and Brook Soucy in the middle of the line-up, the Rams are looking for big things to end the regular season – and beyond.

“It’s just so rewarding to see that they see the positives, even in a loss, they’re looking at some measurable things that we did well,” said Hayes.

 To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Michael Letendre, email him at MLetendre@BristolObserver.com.