WESTERLY — Westerly High’s softball team earned its most wins in more than a decade in the spring with three sophomores and a junior earning playoff honors.
And without a senior on the team, the future looks very bright for the Bulldogs.
“We had a terrific regular season with such a young team and we beat the state champion (Prout) in one game. We proved we could play with anyone,” the Westerly coach said. , Chris Luppe. “The playoff loss was disappointing, but sometimes you take your pieces when you’re young. I’m very excited for next season. I anticipate we’ll make more progress.”
Westerly finished 15-7 overall and 14-4 in Division II before dropping their playoff opener to Lincoln 7-6. The last time Westerly won 15 games in a season was in 2008.
Sophomore Sophia Valentini earned first-team Division II-South honors and was named a third-team All-State by the Softball Coaches Association.
“She was our No. 1 pitcher and she pretty much guarded us every game and she was our best hitter as well,” Luppe said. “She throws pretty hard, but she also has good movement on her secondary throws. She can get people fishing on her stuff and not have them hitting what they want and that’s big.”
Valentini finished 14-6 in the circle with a 2.22 ERA. She recorded 163 strikeouts in 138⅔ innings.
At plate, she led the team with a .418 batting average and was the best in hits (28), RBIs (19) and doubles (10). She finished second in triples with three.
“She has good power and she makes good contact,” Luppe said. “She did a little better than I thought she would do this year. She really took a big leap in second year.”
Sophomore shortstop Alex Stoehr has been named to the Division II-South second team.
Stoehr hit .293 and made 14 runs. She led the team in triples with four and was second in doubles with five.
“She has good hand-eye coordination and she doesn’t hit a lot. She can hit the ball all-court and hit all-court with power,” Luppe said. “She’s a great base runner. She knows when to be aggressive, has good speed and reads the game well.”
Stoehr is also very solid on the field in one of the most crucial positions in the sport.
“She knows the game. She positions herself well and she can make all the short-range throws. She’s a really good point guard,” Luppe said.
Second baseman Emma Caracciolo earned third-team All-Division II-South honors.
Caracciolo provided power to the batting order. She hit three homers, doubled four times and drove in 16 runs.
“She’s probably the best power hitter I’ve had,” Luppe said. “She’s got great batting speed and she’s very strong.”
Junior Dina Arnold earned Division II-South Honorable Mention as a catcher.
“Behind the plate, she completely shuts down the other team’s running game and she can make all the plays,” Luppe said. “She’s good at blocking balls in the dirt, which gives Sophia confidence that she can throw whatever she wants.”