Last summer, Pelham senior Hannah Paitchel decided to be more proactive.
A two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star as a shortstop, Paitchel had always planned, if she could, to continue playing softball in college. But, coming from a small school, she wondered about her opportunities.
“I was definitely worried,” said Paitchel. “Being recruited isn’t as easy as it seems. It’s way easier if you’re playing for a bigger school like Pinkerton or Salem.”
With that in mind, Paitchel decided to play last summer for the Northeast Hurricanes, which features itself as a college showcase team.
“It helped,” said Paitchel. “I wanted every opportunity to be seen by a lot of schools and I started getting contacted.”
But it turned out that Paitchel didn’t really need to be contacted by anyone. The Hurricanes’ coach, former Merrimack pitcher Jill Gagnon, is the coach at St. Anselm College and she liked what she saw.
“She (Gagnon) pretty much dragged me (to St. Anselm) for a visit,” said Paitchel, an honor roll student with a 3.67 GPA. “I didn’t think I was going to like it and I thought I wanted a bigger school.
“But I did like it. I liked the players, I know the campus and they have a good business program, which is what I wanted to get into.”
So last week, Paitchel signed a letter-of-intent to play at St. Anselm, rejecting overtures from a number of Division 3 schools and deciding not to pursue potential opportunities at larger schools like Quinnipiac, Bryant and Syracuse.
Paitchel, who is also an excellent basketball player, becomes the first Pelham player in at least eight years, and perhaps ever, to secure a scholarship to play softball. Pelham coach Todd Lozeau has no doubt that Paitchel is worthy of what she calls “a real honor” to be a Python trailblazer.