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Sports

August 23, 2013

Sports in a Minute

UMass coach made impression in area

Elaine Sortino, who led the University of Massachusetts softball team to 23 conference titles, 21 trips to the NCAA regionals and three trips to the Women’s College World Series in 34 years at the helm, has died after a two-year battle with cancer. She was 64.

Sortino was known well in these parts for recruiting two of the area’s finest softball players from Salem (N.H.) High, Whitney Mollica (batted .341 over her career) and Katie Bettencourt.

Mollica, who is now Whitney Goldstein after her marriage last year, is the head softball coach at WPI after three years as an assistant and interim head coach Amherst College. Bettencourt is interviewing for assistant jobs.

Sortino’s wake was last night. The funeral will be this morning.

“Coach Sortino was the best,” said Dave Mollica, Whitney’s father. “She recruited Whit after hearing about her from (Red Sox PR guy) Dick Brescani. She called and Whit sent her a tape and then visited the school. Coach offered her on the visit.

“Coach never saw her play in person prior to offering her,” said Mr. Mollica. “Coach Sortino helped Whit become a solid, cornerstone player at UMass and as a young woman. She was the best.”

McCarty gets gig with the celtics

The fact the Boston Celtics announced that Brad Stevens was filling out his coaching staff wasn’t as interesting until we found out one particular name, Walter McCarty, was on the list. McCarty was added along with Ron Adams and Micah Shrewsberry as assistants, joining Jamie Young and Jay Larranaga.

McCarty has been around the area. In fact, he applied for a few positions, including the UMass Lowell men’s basketball job, which was vacated by Greg Herenda in the late spring.

McCarty, whose calling card was that Tommy Heinsohn would say “I love Walter!” when he’d make a 3-pointer, had been a Community Relations Consultant with the organization last year.

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