Boston High School: Chelsey Scovil

CMass softball: Grafton, Leicester to meet again in final

June, 6, 2013
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Early on, you had a feel that Kendal Roy was on her game.

The Grafton hurler had the dubious task of trying to curtail top-seed Hudson in Wednesday's Central Mass. Division 2 semifinal held at Worcester State University's Rockwood Field.

Having lost to the Hawks back on April 20, Roy had no intentions of seeing that defeat be played out again, especially in the postseason. There would be no déjà vu this time around as Roy put forth a masterful performance inside the circle, allowing just two hits and striking out 12 to lead the Indians to a 3-0 victory.

"It always feels good to beat a very good team," Grafton coach John Gemme said. "A lot of teams want to be where we are and to face good competition and be here at Worcester State."

No. 4 Grafton (21-2) will now play in its third consecutive final here on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. The Indians will face No. 3 Leicester for a third consecutive year. Both teams split the previous two district final meetings.

Against Hudson, Roy started strong and stayed that way. Through the first 5 1/3 innings, the junior flirted with perfection having allowed no hits or walks until it was broken up on a Laura Hydro infield single.

Meanwhile, the defending state champion Indians had already built its three run lead against Hawks stellar pitcher Jurnee Ware.

To Hudson's credit, it wasn't going down without a fight. Kara Knights led off the Hawks seventh with a single. Haley Gaffney then reached on an error. One out later, Chelsey Scovil lined a single to right loading the bases. Poised and determined, Roy regrouped and struck out the next two batters to seal the win.

"Hudson has always been a team with strong hitters," said Roy. "They started to get with how I throw in the later innings so I knew I had to change up my game plan a bit. I started going inside on them a lot more to get them off-balanced. It's a hard pitch to hit when it's right at your letters."

Ware never quite got into a rhythm as she surrendered six hits and struck out four. Two walks to open the game put Ware in trouble early. Grafton got a run out of it thanks to Roy's RBI fielder's choice. The Indians added another run the next frame. Michelle Goulet singled and scored on Ali Page's single.

Ware appeared to settle down a bit after that. But in the fifth, the senior ran into more problems. Singles by Page and Tara Faford had runners at second and third. Page sprinted home on Roy's ground out to shortstop. Ware was able to avoid any further damage in the frame and keep it a three-run game.

But on this night, a three-run cushion looked very favorable. At the plate, the Hawks were showing little resistance against Roy until they finally woke up a bit in the final inning before having the lights turned out on them putting an end to this tilt.

"We didn't go down without a fight," said Hudson first-year coach Mary Beth Ryan, wrapping up her season at 20-2. "Give credit to Kendal [Roy], she kept us on our toes.

“Grafton is a great team. They made some great plays tonight. Jurnee [Ware] struggled some early. You put a couple people on and it comes back to haunt you. But I thought she battled back hard too."

Leicester 3, Notre Dame Academy 2
Everything was working right for Notre Dame Academy. Facing one of the better hitting teams in all central Mass, Rebels pitcher Casey Arpin was baffling the Wolverines at every turn with a nice mix of fastballs and off-speed junk.

Through the first five innings of Wednesday's Division 2 Central Mass. semifinal, the junior had allowed no runs and given up just four hits.

Meanwhile, Arpin's teammates had staked her to a two-run lead after scoring a pair in the third inning. But Leicester (20-2) managed to hold its frustrations in check and finally found its offensive nitch in the sixth. The Wolverines scored three runs in the frame to come out on top, 3-2, and advance to Saturday's final. Leicester last reached the final in 2011.

The seventh-seeded Rebels close out their year at 17-6.

The Wolverines difference-making frame began with Kelly Shea reaching base on a dropped fly ball from left fielder Caroline Andreoli. The one play seemed to light a fire underneath the Wolverines. Lauren Tuiskula smashed a double to left plating Shea to make it 2-1. Samantha Rivers followed by singling to right to score Tuiskula to deadlock this contest. Rivers would score the go-ahead tally after Ashley George grounded a hard single up the middle.

Tuiskula, now in the pitcher's circle, served up a one out double to Meghan Sullivan but left here there after retiring the next two Rebel batters to end the game.

"It shows you just have to keep fighting and keep playing," Leicester coach Dave Stanick said. "We made a couple of mistakes to give them their runs but we started to hit the ball and put it in play. We get a runner on after a dropped ball. It's unfortunate but it's part of the game and from there we were able to take advantage of that. This year when teams have made mistakes we have taken advantage of them."

The Rebels led by two after Sullivan doubled and scored on an error by second baseman Kiley Hennessey. NDA's second run came via an RBI single from Victoria Pitney.

"We just didn't make the plays in that particular inning and that's the way it goes," Rebels coach Ed Savage said. "We knew Leicester was a very good hitting team and my pitcher did a nice job keep the ball away from them. We knew we had to pitch most of their hitters on the outside corner to be successful. But give Leicester credit because when we made a mistake they took advantage of it. So hats off to them."

Quaboag 7, Hopedale 1
Leading 1-0 through four innings, Quaboag busted its Division 3 CMass semi-final tilt against Hopedale wide open in its half of the fifth. The seventh-seeded Cougars plated six runs against Blue Raiders pitcher Lauren Kapatoes and rolled to a 7-1 victory.

Quaboag (17-6) meets Assabet Valley, the No. 4 seed, in Saturday's final here beginning at 3 p.m. Assabet took the CMass title last year. No. 6 Hopedale completes its season at 16-7.

In the fifth, the Cougars loaded the bases setting up an Andrea Koslowski RBI single. Danielle Sweet, who reached on a fielder's choice and Koslowski would both score shortly thereafter on a Blue Raider error to lead 3-0. The frame continued with a bases-loaded walk to Harlie Wdowiak. Moments later, Sarah Nye plated two more with a line single to right.

The Cougars struck for a run in the fourth inning. Koslowski led the frame off with a double to center field and and scored on Wdowiak's deep fly to center. Kapatoes drove in Hopedale's lone run in the seventh on a SAC fly.

Hudson's Ware in fine form again

May, 10, 2013
HUDSON, Mass. -- What’s not to like about Jurnee Ware. She is intelligent, humble and, oh by the way, one of the elite pitchers in the state.

Ware’s success story at Hudson High School began as a young freshman and has grown by leaps and bounds ever since.

Now in her final season, the crafty lefty is looking to finish her high school career the way she started it, by winning another state championship.

The odds of that happening grow stronger with each passing victory. Following Monday's win over Shrewsbury High, the Hawks now stand at 12-0. And the way Ware has been dominating the opposition thus far, don’t bet against this team come June.

Ware already holds the school record with 761 strike outs. It is anyone’s guess as to what that final figure will be to once her season is completed. In her four years here, Ware has maintained a miniscule career ERA of 0.88. Steve Martin, Ware’s former head coach at Hudson, says he saw something special in her as a young freshman and wasted no time putting her on the varsity roster.

“Right away I found her attitude to be great,” said Martin, who stepped down from the position at the end of last season. “The bigger the game the more she stepped up. The higher the intensity level the better she became. You could see that in her right away as a freshman. One thing I have always admired about her is her mental toughness.”

In Ware’s first season back in 2010, she pitched the Hawks to the MIAA Division 2 state championship. The past two seasons, Hudson reached the postseason but failed to get out of the Central Mass. Tournament. Last year, Ware pitched the entire season with a bum shoulder.

“I never thought I would ever win a state championship when I first came here,” said Ware, who is 67-13 inside the circle for the Hawks. “I didn’t think I would break records or do as well as I am doing. I lacked some confidence when I first started here. But I continued to try and work that confidence up which I have done. But it has never got to a point of me being over-confident or being cocky because that doesn’t help anybody.”

After beating Stoneham to win the state crown, Ware said it took a little time before it sunk in. “To be honest it felt like any other game we won that year,” she said. “It didn’t hit me for a while.”

Ware has proven to be the consummate team player. She has never been one to yearn for the spotlight in spite of her talents. With her, the concept is always and always will be team first.

“I like being inside the circle for my team,” said Ware. “It’s nice having your teammates saying good job to you and you saying it back to them. It’s a great feeling.”

Watching Ware from afar this season, Martin says he has noticed some similarities in comparing Ware’s first season and her senior year.

“Jurnee always talks about the team and has always been a team player,” he said. “But as I see her now, I picture her mind-set this year is her wanting to get back to what she did her freshman year by returning to the state final and getting another chance to win a state championship.”

Ever since she could hold a softball in her hands, Ware aspired to become a pitcher. Under the guidance of her father Alvin, Ware constantly worked at her craft, accepting the constructive criticism that goes along with it which, in turn, made her more-focused and determined. Ware says the support she has received from her father, her mother Nikki and her three brothers (Jordan, Jared and J.D.) has been nothing short of beneficial in progressions as a softball player. She is also one of the Hawks’ best hitters, with a career batting average of .411.

Once her high school career is finished, Ware, a National Honor Society student, will take her talents to Assumption College next season.

First-year Hudson coach Mary Beth Ryan considers herself fortunate to inherit a team amassed with talent. The Hawks are not a one-girl show by any means and Ware would be the first to admit that. This team is solid both offensively and defensively. And when you have a pitcher like Ware mowing down the opposition, you have few, if any, flaws to be concerned about.

“It’s nice to inherit such a good team,” Ryan said. “All of these girls have been taught great fundamentals, beginning in the youth leagues here. That is the best part to me. In regards to Jurnee, I feel the best thing about her is giving us that sense of comfort in the field, especially with the number of rookies we have in our infield. When an opposing team gets a runner on these girls never worry about that runner scoring. We react like there is nobody on base because we believe Jurnee will come up with that big strike out or get a batter to pop out or hit a little ground ball that is easy to field.”

Despite her growing list of accomplishments, Ware realizes she is playing under a colossal shadow cast by the state’s No. 1 rated pitcher -- Milford High flamethrower Shannon Smith. While Smith has received her share of accolades -- and deservedly so -- Ware says it doesn’t bother her to play second fiddle. She prefers to just go about her business as the leader of the Hawks.

“I really don’t mind it because there are probably some other pitchers out there who are good that think that way of me, too” Ware said. “There might be some who say, ‘Well, if she wasn’t there pitching at Hudson maybe I’d get be getting a little more publicity.’ I’m just grateful for what I do get from the press.”

Hudson junior catcher Chelsey Scovil has caught Ware the past three seasons. Before that, the two had played together for a number of years within the Hudson youth softball leagues. Scovil says the relationship between her and her battery mate has been highly-productive.

“Our relationship has grown each year,” Scovil said. “I always seem to know what she is thinking before the next pitch. After we see a batter the second time through the line up we know what their weaknesses are at the plate. For us to both understand that makes it so much easier for the two of us. With Jurnee I never really have to worry about where the ball is going to be. Usually wherever I set my glove is pretty-much the exact position as to where she is going to throw it.”

Recap: No. 15 Grafton 1, No. 6 Hudson 0

May, 23, 2012
HUDSON, Mass. -- As good as the Grafton Indians have excelled on the softball diamond this season, and lets face facts you cannot do much better than going undefeated, they still had a major obstacle to climb to prove they belonged in softball’s upper-echelon class.

Tonight, against highly-formidable Hudson, was the opportunity the Indians had been longing for.

In one of the most highly-anticipated games of the season, Grafton pitcher Kendal Roy was dominant inside the circle as she held the mighty Hawks offense in check throughout and come away with a 1-0 victory.

“I had been waiting for this game for weeks,” said Roy, a sophomore who surrendered five hits and struck out 12, and now has an ERA well under 1.00. “All of us have been mentally preparing for this game for quite some time. We knew right from the very start tonight that we had to come out and play well against a very good Hudson team and I think we definitely proved ourselves.”

With the win, Grafton improves to 18-0 while Hudson saw its 12-game win streak come to an end as they fall to 15-3. It would come as a surprise to no one to see these two bona fide programs lock horns again during next month’s the Division 2 postseason tournament.

“Kendal did a great job," Grafton coach John Gemme said. “I think Hudson made some adjustments late in the game at the plate and were starting to get the bat on the ball a little better. But overall she pitched great. I think we are certainly right in the mix of things now because that was a very tough team we beat."

For her part, Hawks pitcher Jurnee Ware did everything she could do to keep her team in this battle. Ware allowed four hits while striking out 10. Knowing that runs would be at a premium because of the quality of pitching from both sides, the Indians got the only run they would need in the second inning.

Andrea Vulter led things off by laying down a bunt single. The senior then proceeded to steal second and third.

One out later, Kate Cardoza’s bunt attempt was caught by Hudson first baseman Marie Hydro. Once contact with the ball was made, Vulter had made worked her way well down the line from third. Hydro, upon seeing this, had an easy pickoff play in front of her as Vulter retreated and sprinted back toward third. However, Hydro rushed her throw to shortstop Jill Cedrone, covering on the play, and the ball sailed high over Cendrone’s head allowing Vulter to change direction and trot home.

Grafton had a chance to add to its lead in the fourth. Roy and Tara Faford began the frame with back-to-back singles. Ware then bore down getting Vulter to fly out and striking out Michelle Goulet. On the swinging strike, Faford had crept to far from first base. Hawks catcher Chelsey Scovil fired to second baseman Kara Knights, covering on the play, and a rundown ensued. Makayla Ritzie, pinch-running for Roy, took off for third. Knights turned and threw to third nailing Ritzie ending the threat.

With Roy on cruise control, hitting all her spots around the plate, things were beginning to look bleak for Hudson as the frustration level continued to mount into the late innings. A ray of hope finally came the Hawks way in their final at bats. Scovil opened the seventh by ripping a shot over the head of center fielder Nikki Murphy. After reaching second base, Scovil was waved on by Hudson coach Steve Martin to keep running. Murphy retreated the ball and fired a perfect strike to shortstop Marissa Ruggiero, who then relayed a throw to Faford at third who tagged Scovil out.

“I made a mistake and shouldn’t have sent her,” Martin said. “That one is on me. But overall we played great against a fantastic pitcher. We played hard and fought right to the very end. This was such a good game. I hope we see them again.”

Recap: Hudson's Ware records 500th K

May, 7, 2012
HUDSON, Mass. -- You might say Jurnee Serating-Ware is a quintessential multi-tasker.

Before every Hudson High home softball game, the junior sings a solid rendition of the National Anthem. Then she takes her place inside the circle as the Hawks' ace pitcher.

Ware performed brilliantly in both aspects Monday. Facing Mid-Wach B Division rival Nashoba Regional in a all-important divisional contest, Ware twirled a gem, surrendering just a pair of singles while striking out five in leading No. 13 Hudson to a one-sided 11-0 victory. Not once throughout this affair did a Chieftain batter advance beyond first base. Among those five K’s was Ware's 500th for her career.

“It doesn’t seem real right now,” said Ware, a lefty with an ERA of just over 1.00. “It was only like 12 games ago that I had 400. I go into every game not worrying about the batter but just doing what I need to do. I know for the most part what a batter can and cannot hit so I just try to focus on that. I didn't even know I was that close to 500 because my coach [Steve Martin] never told me.”

Ware, who came into the game need four strikeouts for the milestone, also said she couldn’t remember when her first career strikeout as a Hawk was. But Martin did. He recalled that it came during Ware's freshman season in a game against Algonquin Regional. In that game, it was scoreless deadlock heading into the ninth inning before Hudson won it 1-0 ironically on a Ware solo home run.

With this victory the Hawks improve to 11-2 and are 6-0 in divisional play. With the Chieftains (9-5, 4-2) nipping at its heels in the league standings all season, this pivotal win gives Hudson a two-game comfort margin with six regular season games remaining on the schedule.

“I told Jurnee that not many people get to 500 strikeouts in their high school career so be proud of it,” Martin said. “As long as she stays healthy I think she has a legitimate shot at Kaitlyn Andrews’ school record of 720 strikeouts.”

Hudson put this tilt in its rearview mirror early. The Hawks scored once in the first, five more times in the second and added a solo run in the third. Nashoba did little to help its cause as the Chieftains committed five errors. Ware, who also added a pair of doubles and an RBI on the afternoon, got things started in the opening frame by ripping a two-bagger. After advancing to third, she trotted home on Kara Knights’ deep flyout.

Nashoba sophomore righty Emily Sargent, obviously a bit flustered by the lack of defense behind her, was not as sharp as she has normally been. Entering this tilt with an ERA of 2.21, Sargent uncharacteristcally served up 12 hits and struck out four.

Hudson sent nine to the plate in the second frame after banging out four hits and taking advantage of three Nashoba miscues to extend its lead to 6-0. Key at bats in the inning came from Knights, a junior who delivered a two-run single and a Ware run-scoring double.

“For some reason plays we normally make against other schools we don’t make against Hudson,” said Chieftains coach Steve Kendall, who has now lost to the Hawks three times this season. “It’s something about that team where we just don’t perform well. I don’t know what it is. For whatever reason we just beat ourselves against that team. They are too good where you can’t make that many mistakes like we did today.”

In the Hawks’ third, they put two runners on with one out. Ware next grounded a ball to shortstop Eileen McGarry but the junior's throw pulled first baseman Joyce LaBonte off the bag resulting in another run.

Sargent managed to settle down over the next two innings as she kept the Hawks off the board. But that trend didn't last very long. Hudson opened its half of the sixth by putting the first two batters on before Kendal LaFrancois, a transfer from Nashoba, drove a hard ground ball single to plate a run. Chelsey Scovil then smashed a double to left scoring two more. A few moments later Scovil crossed the plate with the Hawks’ 11th run following a Maria Hydro single.

Meanwhile, Ware had the Chieftains right where she wanted them from the outset as they had trouble picking up the movement of her pitches.

“I know Jurnee is proud of her accomplishment but getting this win today in a huge league game with Nashoba coming in just one game behind us was the biggest importance of day,” Martin said. “We spent a good part of last week on our hitting because we haven’t been hitting the ball that well of late. Today we really hit well against a very good pitcher. To hit her like we did today, I think those hitting sessions we had seemed to work out.”