She may not be a captain yet, but Pinkerton junior Natalie Fabrizio sure acts like one.
“She’s a tremendous team player and does everything for the team,” said Pinkerton coach Terry Bailey. “I saw her take a player aside one day and tell her, ‘This isn’t how things are done around here.’ It was great to see.
”She might not be a captain but she is like a captain. She’s done whatever we’ve asked since her freshman year.”
Schooled as a pitcher, Fabrizio was behind three hurlers as a freshman. So Bailey made her the starting left fielder. Last year, she switched to center field, playing it brilliantly while hitting .391.
This year, Bailey needs her to both pitch and play shortstop, a difficult position she’s never played before.
”If I had a shortstop, she’d be back in the outfield,” said Bailey. “But I needed her at shortstop and she had no problem doing it. That’s the kind of kid you want — she’ll do whatever the team needs.”
Fabrizio admits that, while she’s excited to be pitching again, she’d prefer the outfield to shortstop.
”Since I never played shortstop before, there’s been a lot to learn, and there’s a lot of responsibility,” said Fabrizio. “I’d rather be in the outfield, but whatever the coach wants me to do is fine with me.”
After a slow start, she’s well over .300 after going 8 of 14 last week.
”She can hit the ball,” said Bailey. “Even when her average was down a little, she was hitting the ball hard and a lot of times taking 10 pitches, fouling it off. She was wearing pitchers out.”
As for taking a leadership role, it comes naturally for Fabrizio, who is president of her class for the second straight year and hopes to make it three straight next year.
”It’s a lot of meetings and a lot of work, but I enjoy it,” said Fabrizio, who also plays soccer and was on the varsity bowling team in the winter. “We want to do a lot of community service and get everyone involved.”
None of her class president or athletic duties have taken away from Fabrizio’s academics. While taking advanced classes, she is ranked 49th in her class of 772.
She’s considering the likes of Dartmouth, Colgate, Tufts and Brandeis and definitely wants to keep playing softball at the next level.
”She’s just a great all-around student athlete, with such a great attitude,” said Bailey. “Coaches need more girls like her.”
Hoadley steps up.
Timberlane freshman pitcher Kate Hoadley has needed to reassess her season goals.
“I was just hoping to play some,” said Hoadley last week. “I’ve been very surprised. Now I just want to be as successful as I can be.”
If Hoadley can just keep doing what she’s been doing, it’ll be just fine. While the Owls have shown great strength, offensively and defensively throughout their lineup, there is no question that she has been a key to Timberlane’s turnaround.
Control problems have been costly for the Owls, who have gone just 11-47 over the last three years, but it’s been a non-issue this year. They have zoomed to a 12-2 record. In her first nine games, she issued just 11 walks while striking out 68.
Against Salem she retired the side four times and pitched brilliantly. Her only walk in nine innings was an intentional pass.
“Keeping runners off base is so important,” said Timberlane coach Jim Clavette. “It changes everything.”
Even better for the Owls, Hoadley should continue to improve. She’s been pitching for five years, the last four with a trademark mask to protect her face.
Moreover, she’s constantly working on her five pitches. She considers her rise ball her “out” pitch. She works out with two different pitching coaches.
”It’s nice to think of her only being a freshman,” said Clavette.
Besides the pitching, there are plenty of reasons why Timberlane has gotten off to such a strong start. The sister combination of Meaghan and Madison Bishop is near the top of the list.
Meaghan is hitting .413 and Madison .380, according to Clavette, and they are instrumental in the field as well.
Meaghan, a senior, has done a fine job as the team’s catcher. A high honors student, she is headed to Roger Williams to major in criminal justice.
The Eagle-Tribune’s weekly ranking of area softball teams:
1. Timberlane 13-2
2. Central Catholic 12-2
3. Salem 11-3
4. Phillips Academy 6-0
5. Whittier 13-1
Honorable mention: Methuen (10-5)