Boston High School: Kathy Georgina

Recap: Agawam 2, No. 10 Longmeadow 1

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
AGAWAM, Mass. -- After loading the bases in the bottom of the seventh and only to come up empty, Agawam softball was given a second reprieve one inning later. With the game tied, the Brownies put runners at the corners with one out.

This time around there would be no disappointment.

Senior Mary Reidy lined a Jillian Stockley fastball to right field for a single that scored Maria Moccio with the game-winning run giving Agawam a tightly-fisted 2-1 triumph over Longmeadow on Patriots Day.

With one out in the frame, Moccio, a freshman, reached on an infield single. Pinch-hitter Alyssa Eggleston laid down a sacrifice bunt but on the play, Lancer second baseman Kaitlynn Geier, covering first, failed to look the ball into her glove as it rolled into foul territory. That set the stage for Reidy's walk-off single.

"That was a repeat of the [Western Mass.] final of last year (won by the Brownies 1-0)," said Agawam head coach Kathy Georgina, her team improving to 6-1. "It was the same intensity as that final by both teams. We started getting our bats going late today. Once we got the timing down I was beginning to feel a lot more comfortable and we also played tremendous defense today which was huge."

In the first five innings, Stockley, a junior fireballer, kept Agawam in check, holding them to a pair of singles. Longmeadow (6-2) already enjoyed a 1-0 lead courtesy of Ally Mishol's RBI triple in the first off of Brownies superb sophomore ace Allison Wheeler, who no-hit Palmer in her previous outing.

In most cases, a one run lead for Stockley is enough. Once the Lancers took the lead, Wheeler finally settled down quite nicely, allowing just two hits the rest of the way while striking out eight.

"A win like this certainly boosts confidence," Georgina said. "That was a quality team that we faced and during the season to this point we hadn't really had a test except for Westfield. Today was a really good test and by winning it is a huge confidence boost for all of our girls."

With the game now reaching dangerous territory for the defending Division 1 state finalists, the Brownies knew they to come through with something positive to get back in it. In the sixth, those hopes were answered. Senior Danielle Stratton, who entered with a batting average of .520, began things with a slap single to right. After taking second on a pass ball, she would sprint home moments later on Taylor Marcotte's ground single to the left side knotting things at 1-1.

"Obviously we wanted to win today," Lancers head coach Steve Marcil said. "But I think we are still fine. We took a lot of positives out of today. I still thing we are going to be there as long as we keep working at it. We need to make some strides and make better contact. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. We would have liked it to be us today but we're still very confident. We know what we are and we'll be fine."

After Wheeler set Longmeadow down in order in the seventh, Agawam, with newfound momentum, was looking to end things in its half of the frame.
It certainly appeared as though the Brownies would do just that. Reidy opened with a single to right. Rebecca Uschmann next laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached base safely after Stockley threw wide of the bag putting both runners into scoring position.

Stockley (8 IP, 7 hits, 11 Ks) re-asserted herself by retiring the next two batters. After Stratton (2 hits) was intentionally walked to load the bases, it was now up to Stockley to get out of the mess. The UConn-commit bore down by striking out Rachel Lapponese to disperse of the threat.

It certainly would have been easy for Agawam to hang its heads after failing to score in regulation, but they didn't. Realizing they had the bat speed to catch up to Stockley's fastball, the Brownies continued to walk up to the plate aggressively, and in the eighth, that demeanor would pay huge dividends.

"We are a young team overall and I think we handled the added pressure of playing extra innings well," said Stratton. "We came through when it mattered the most. I think we did all we could do to get on base. People came through with some big hits. We were really prepared for the level of pitching we were going to see today."

D1 softball semi: Agawam 2, Marlborough 1

June, 15, 2013
MONTAGUE, Mass. -- To get to this point, it goes without question that a little luck is needed.

For Agawam, on Friday night, the Brownies received their fair share and then some after pulling out a thrilling 2-1 victory over Marlborough in the Division 1 state semifinal played at Turners Falls High School.

With only three hits to its credit, Agawam won this tilt on the strength of its defense, its cool customer of a pitcher (freshman Allison Wheeler) and a lack of execution by the Panthers.

The Brownies (18-6) is back in the finals for the first time since 1995 when they lost to Bishop Fenwick. They will face Milford on Saturday at 7 p.m. from Rockwood Field in Worcester. Agawam and Milford are no strangers to one another. In last year's state semifinal, the Hawks dominated the Brownies, 13-0.

"Our defense got us here and our defense won this game," said Agawam head coach Kathy Georgina. "Allison [Wheeler] pitched great again. We are ready for Milford. This time we aren't walking in blind like last year. We know Shannon Smith is an excellent pitcher. We know what she can do and we know what we can do."

Against Marlborough, Agawam dodged a number of bullets to survive. The Panthers (17-7) finished the game having left eight runners on base, including seven in scoring position.

Trailing 2-1, Marlborough squandered a golden opportunity to tie or take the lead in the fourth.

With two runners on, Victoria Petrie lined a Wheeler fastball to right for a single. Lead runner Jessica Acosta, who was on second base, was waved around third. But right fielder Mary Kate Reidy threw missile to catcher Rielly Wieners. Just a few feet from home plate, Acosta stopped dead in her tracks and retreated back to third.

"We didn't get flustered," Georgina said. "Allison [Wheeler] showed tremendous maturity out there. That out we got [in the fourth] was a huge break for us.

Meanwhile, trailing runner Jen Bombard had already touched third at that point and went a few feet towards home. But once the senior saw Acosta coming back, Bombard spun around and headed back to second. Acosta barely got back to third safely with Wieners chasing her, but umpires ruled Bombard out because she never stepped back on third in her attempts to return to second base. Now with runners on the corners and two out, Wheeler struck out Erin Coughlin to end the inning.

In the seventh, Marlborough threatened again. Victoria Falco opened by singling to right. A steal and wild pitch moved the junior to third with two out, representing the tying run. But Wheeler got Erin Coughlin to ground out to end the game.

The Panthers jumped on Wheeler for a run in the first after Wieners threw the ball into center field trying to nail Bombard, who was stealing. Marissa Flynn, who reached on an error to start the game, scored easily.

The Brownies, after having trouble with Marlborough pitcher Molly McGuire early, finally got to the hard-throwing senior in the third. A Panther error and a Paige Circosta single put runners at the corners. Wieners then atoned for her earlier mistake by ripping an RBI single to left to tie things at 1-1. Taylor Marcotte followed with a ground ball to second. Flynn, Marlborough's second baseman, tried to go the easy route and throw out pinch-runner Jess Lingenburg streaking toward second. But Flynn's throw was off the mark and went into the outfield allowing Circosta to score the go-ahead run.

"We were able to get out of some tight jams because Allison hit her spots when she needed to," Wieners said. "She missed a couple of times but she really battled through it. Her mental toughness got us through this game. It's all about heart and our ability to manufacture runs when we needed to and do what it takes to get it done."

Marlboro, which finished with nine hits, will come away from this affair knowing the chances it left on the base paths, especially in the fourth and seventh innings. The Panthers also saw another chance to add runs snuffed out in the second. Again with runners on second and third and two out, Flynn smashed a hard grounder just to the right of second base. But Marcotte, Agawam's second baseman, dove to snare the ball and managed to throw out Flynn from her backside by a half step.

"Overall I thought we hit the ball well but just didn't get the clutch hits tonight," said Marlborough head coach Kyle Westcott. "We got a lot of runners on but didn't score when we needed to. It was an unbelievable season. No Marlboro softball team had ever won a district championship prior to this year. It was an amazing group and I'm proud of all of them."

West softball: Agawam, Mt. Everett claim titles

June, 10, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. -- For those who live outside the greater Springfield area, you probably have never heard of Allison Wheeler -- yet.

Wheeler is a freshman pitcher for the Agawam Brownies but certainly does not play like one. At Sunday's Division 1 Western Mass. final, Wheeler, showcasing outstanding movement with all of her pitches, silenced the Longmeadow offense in the form of a 1-0 victory at UMass.

With the win, the fourth-seeded Brownies (17-6) claim their second consecutive district title. They now move on to Wednesday's state semifinal versus Marlborough here beginning at 5 p.m. Last year, Agawam fell to Milford in the semifinal round.

"Allison has really come into her own this season," Brownies coach Kathy Georgina said. "Today she put the ball where she needed to. We had played Longmeadow twice before (earning a split) and we had studied their hitters. We had them all mapped out and Allison put the ball where she needed to so they couldn't hit it. For a freshman, her maturity and composure is truly amazing."

Entering this tilt, all talk focused around two young upstart pitchers who offer little to opposing offenses. Wheeler's counterpart, sophomore Jillian Stockley, also performed well in this one. But Wheeler was a tad better. The right-hander issued a first-inning single and then proceeded to keep the second-seeded Lancers quiet for the remainder of this tilt. She also picked up seven strikeouts. Stockley gave up five hits and fanned eight giving her 225 for the year.

"We just fought the whole way and wanted this so bad," Wheeler said. "My defense made some big plays for me and I owe a lot to my catcher Rielly Wieners. She keeps me calm. I love her and I'm so excited that we get to keep going."

Stockley's lone mistake came in the Brownies first inning. Danielle Stratton led off with a bunt single. Faith Rheault then reached on an error. After a sacrifice bunt from Paige Circosta advanced both runners, Wieners hit a fly to left that was deep enough for Stratton to tag up and score on.

"I think our experience played out in getting that first run," said Georgina. "We came here and weren't nervous. I think they were a little nervous maybe in that first inning and we took advantage of that to get that run across."

From that point forward that would be the only offense put forth by both clubs as Wheeler and Stockley took over and made life difficult in the batter's box. Agawam managed to get two base runners to second in the later innings but Stockley left them stranded there.

"We knew going in we had to get some timely, clutch hits," said Longmeadow coach Steve Marcil, after his team finished at 17-5. "Wheeler pitched very well. We just didn't get a lot of good swings on her. Agawam played a great game. Danielle [Stratton] is probably the mentally-toughest kids I've ever coached. She has a plan for every pitch and every at bat. She's all business. She's just a phenomenal competitor and a great kid."

Mount Everett 3, Turners Falls 0
History says to beat a reigning state power like Turners Falls you need to be as close to perfect as one possibly can. be. The Indians have earned that reputation having won six state championships.

On Sunday, Mount Everett played near-flawless and certainly did enough to thwart the defending two-time Division 3 state champions 3-0 in the Western Mass. final played at UMass.

Much of the credit goes to Eagles hurler Alicia Bazonski. The hard-throwing righty curtailed the Indians' powerful bats throughout. After surrendering two first inning singles, the junior righty issued no more the rest of the way. At one point she set down 13 Indians in a row. Bazonski also registered six strike outs.

"This feels really good," said Bazonski, clutching her team's first district title trophy. "We knew Turners is a really good hitting team so I was just trying to keep them off-balance as much as I could. Fortunately, I was able to."

Mount Everett (22-1), the top seed, advances to Tuesday's state semifinal to be played here against Central Mass. champ Assabet Valley beginning at 5 p.m.
Having lost to the Indians in this game two years ago, Mount Everett, located in Sheffield, finally gained a little payback.

"We've been close a few times at winning this but always fell short," Eagles head coach Kurt DeGrenier said. "We live in a very tiny community so our whole community truly deserves this. Alicia [Bazonski] is the total package. I'm glad we've got her and nobody else does. She never gets rattled and never gives in. Turners has the best team in Western Mass for the last 20 years so beating them today is very special."

Mount Everett jumped ahead 1-0 in their half of the second against Indians ace Dakota Smith-Porter (CG, 4 hits, 2 Ks). Samantha Hoover walked, advanced to second on a sacrifice and scored on Emily Coon's bloop single that landed on the foul line beyond third base. On the play, Indians left fielder Amber Caouette bobbled the ball allowing Hoover to sprint home.

While No. 2 Turners Falls (20-3) bats continued to grow listless against Bazonski, the Eagles threatened to add to its lead in the fourth.

Bazonski opened with a walk. With Kayla Krom pinch-running, Hoover laid down a sacrifice bunt moving Krom to second. Alex Hoover then sent a flare to left. Caouette charged the ball, played it on a hop, and fired a laser to Indians catcher Morgan Ozdarski who tagged out Krom. On the play, Hoover took off for second but Ozdarski alertly fired a strike to second baseman Jenna Putala, who placed the tag on a sliding Hoover to end the inning.

In the sixth, the Eagles made amends after scoring a pair. Haley Finn singled. Morgan DeGrenier laid down a bunt. Ozdarski picked it up and threw it into right field. Brittany York, the right fielder, let the ball go past her with Finn crossing the plate. DeGrenier, taking third on the double error, scored moments later on Natasha MacLeay's ground out.

"I felt one run wasn't going to be enough," Bazonski said. "We knew we needed to get some more and we did."

Bazonski retired the Indians in order in the top of the seventh to deny them a chance for a third straight state crown.

"We hit a few balls hard and they made the catches," Turners Falls coach Gary Mullins said. "Their pitcher was tough and we couldn't handle it. We made three errors today and I don't think we've made three errors in over a month."

Agawam's Weiners not complacent

April, 25, 2013
AGAWAM, Mass. -- There are many adjectives you could attach to Reilly Weiners: fierce and competitor are a few that quickly come to mind.

A senior catcher at Agawam High School, Weiners is considered by many to be the best at her position in the state, let alone New England.

The Brownies are a perennial state softball power and Weiners is a big reason why. Last year, she batted .531 with 32 RBI in 77 plate appearances, helping guide Agawam to the Division 1 Western Mass. title before falling in the state semifinal to pitcher extraordinaire Shannon Smith and the Milford Scarlet Hawks, who went on to capture the state crown.

Weiners says the bitter taste of that defeat still remains and will only disperse should the Brownies get back to the state championship round and a possible rematch with Milford.

“I think talent-wise we are a better team than we were last year,” said Weiners. “We were thrilled to win Western Mass. last year because that is always one of our goals. But we want to go beyond that. I’d love to get back to the states and face Shannon Smith again. As a team we think about it all the time and it is definitely something that drives us.”

With Weiners orchestrating the leadership among this club, a second meeting with the Scarlet Hawks (albeit it would be in the state final this year now that Milford has now moved to Eastern Mass.) remains a possibility. Presently sitting at 4-3, the Brownies still have some work to do in the hotly-contested Valley League.

Few catchers are able to master their position the way Wieners has. Not only is she exceptional defensively, whether it be blocking balls in the dirt or throwing out would-be base runners, but also has the high IQ to control a game. Earning the trust of her head coach Kathy Georgina, Wieners has been handed the responsibility to be the coach on the field. Quite often you will find her moving her defensive mates around the infield in preparation against a particular opposing batter or lining up players up on cutoffs and relays. Offensively, she is a natural contact hitter with power.

“She really is amazing,” said Georgina, now in her 11th season at the helm, and a star in her own right at Springfield College. “I’ve known Reilly since kindergarten and watching her throw a ball as a first-grader in my physical education classes, I knew then she would be a good one someday. She is very sound technically. It is a blessing for me to have a player like her on this team. She knows the game inside and out and is one of the best high school players I have ever seen. It is also a luxury to have a catcher who can run the team on the field the way she does.”

Of all the things Wieners has accomplished on the field, perhaps the biggest, and most-difficult, one took place off of it. Admitting she was not pleased with her physical stature a year ago, Weiners was determined to do something about it. Her struggles with obesity, she believed, was limiting her abilities as an athlete. Once the high school season was over last June, Weiners adopted a daily ritual of distance running, weight lifting, cardio-vascular drills and maintaining a healthy diet. The end result was her shedding more than 80 pounds over the fall and winter.

“I felt good hitting last season but I just didn’t feel I was able to give 100 percent of my physical self everyday,” Weiners said. “After last season I started to work out hard every day. I think what I have done and still doing is only going to make me better. I am one who wants to get better at something each and every day. I feel like I have proven to myself and those who had doubted me wrong. I feed off of that every single day.”

Weiners admits she wasn’t proud in having difficulty taking part in team conditioning drills. On numerous occasions she was unable to finish jogging laps or run wind sprints, often finding herself short of breath. Realizing she would be going into her senior year as a team captain and leader, Wieners knew her lifestyle and eating habits had to change immediately. Now, with the excess weight gone, Weiners says she feels like a completely different person.

“I go out now and lead both physically and mentally and it feels great,” she said. “I feel I get a lot more out of the practices now than I ever did before. I can do all the conditioning drills without any problems. I feel a lot better about myself. I enjoy being out here playing and having fun instead of struggling just trying to get through it like I did in the past. [My weight] really held me back. Now I am a lot more excited to come out here every day and show that I have been working very hard with my conditioning and it is starting to pay off for me.”

From a softball perspective, because she is such an imposing force at the plate, Georgina says some opposing teams have already decided to pitch around her, which, in turn, has limited her production at the plate up to this point. Teams seem complacent to put her on base rather than feel her wrath with the bat. But sooner or later teams will have to pitch to her and take their chances.

With five new faces on the Brownies roster this season, Weiners, along with the other returning players, are making a point to remind all of them what the Brownies mission is for this year.

“We relay a message to them all the time about the hunger all of us returning players have to get back [to the state tournament],” she said. “We want to make sure they understand that. It sucked losing 13-0 to Milford last year and we want to be the team that beats them this year. We have great team bonding sessions here and we talk about that goal all the time.”

While Weiners has been nothing short of spectacular during her time at Agawam, freshman pitcher Allison Wheeler has also begun to open up some eyes. Sporting a blazing fastball, to go along with a baffling change-up and curve, Wheeler says having a veteran player the likes of Weiners as her battery mate has made her transition to the varsity level much smoother.

“I feel so comfortable pitching to Rielly,” Wheeler said. “As a freshman playing on varsity, I am so lucky to have a catcher like her behind the plate. She has helped me out in so many ways and keeps me calm when I get into tight situations. I feel it is a real honor for me to be pitching to her. Our relationship is very good and I think it will only get stronger moving forward. She is the best catcher that has ever caught for me and probably will be the best that I will ever pitch to.”

There is no arguing the fact that Wieners is a Division 1 college talent. Enough so that she was heavily recruited by a number of quality programs, including national powers Tennessee and UMass-Amherst. An honors student, Wieners has remained true in her beliefs that academics holds a higher importance than softball. That being said, she has committed to attend and play for Wesleyan University next season, majoring in English/Journalism.

“Reilly has made it clear from the beginning that she wanted to go to a college that had her major and also had a solid academic reputation,” Georgina said. “She didn’t want to somewhere to just play softball. Wesleyan had everything she was looking for and I think is a perfect fit for her.”

Weiners is the latest in a line of outstanding catchers who have played here. In the early 2000s, Teresa Bonavita was a much-heralded backstop who went on to star at AIC and later Temple University. Amy Mantha followed Bonavita and carved her own notch at Agawam before moving on to a successful career at Post University. Says Wieners, both left an indelible mark at Agawam and to her personally. Having grown up watching Bonavita and Mantha only heightened her desire to follow admirably in their footsteps. Another inspiration came from her father, Don. Also a catcher in baseball, Weiners says she would watch her father play in a local 30-and-older league and quickly noticed the style in which he played and started taking mental notes.

“You could say playing catcher is sort of in my blood,” laughs Weiners. “I used to watch his games and he was very assertive behind the plate. He would take control of a game as catcher and I guess I picked up that trait from him.”

Weiners says her biggest fan is her mother, Dion Berte, who regularly attends Agawam’s games, cheering both her daughter and the Brownies on.

“My mother is truly amazing,” Weiners said with a smile. “She doesn’t know a lot about the game but is here all the time rooting us on. To be totally honest I don’t think I would have been able to do any of this without her and her support. She is so awesome.”

And in turn, Agawam would not be in the position it is in without her.

Recap: No. 14 Agawam 14, No. 5 Westfield 1

May, 2, 2012
AGAWAM, Mass. -- In between pitches yesterday, Agawam ace pitcher Danielle Circosta routinely strolled away from pitchers circle and glanced out toward her younger sister Paige in centerfield. Upon making eye contact, the two would simultaneously take a deep breath together before the senior returned to the pitching rubber to deliver her next pitch.

To some, this act might have served as just another quirky ritual softball players like to do. But there was nothing quirky about it. It was later revealed that Circosta was battling a case of walking pneumonia and this unorthodox practice she was performing was giving her the durability needed in order to be effective.

Obviously well-below 100 percent, Circosta would need squeeze out every last ounce of energy she had in her having to face the region’s top team. As it turned out, the deep breathing routine worked out quite well as Circosta limited previously unbeaten Westfield to six hits and struck out nine en route to a 14-1 mercy-shortened Valley League victory. With the win, the Brownies earned a postseason tournament berth as they improved to 10-2.

“I’m on medication and it can really take its toll out there,” Circosta said. “But when I was out there I just needed to take deep breaths and forget about it. Looking back at my sister, and the two of us taking deep breaths together, really helped me a lot today.”

The Bombers (11-1) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning when leadoff batter Kaitlyn Puza stroked a low fastball deep to center for a triple. On the play, Paige Circosta’s throw sailed over the cutoff allowing Puza to cross the plate.

But from that point forward Circosta was dialed in and kept Westfield’s offense at bay with a solid mixture of on-the-spot fastballs, a riser and an occasional change up. Agawam tied the game in its half of the third, taking advantage of a pair of Bomber errors. In the following frame, the Brownies opened up the flood gates.

Agawam sent 10 to the plate in the fourth, scoring five times in the process to put this one out of reach. Faith Rheault started things by ripping an 0-2 pitch to left for a single. Two sacrifice outs later, Danielle Circosta helped her own cause by slapping another 0-2 pitch into right for an RBI single to put the Brownies ahead to stay.

“You cannot go 0-2 in the count and give up hits like that,” Westfield coach Joe Stella said. “We did that four times today. I hope this is a learning thing for us. We saw some weaknesses today. We know what we need to work on and we’ll move on.”

Bomber sophomore pitcher Sarah McNerney (CG, 21 hits, 4 Ks) did a manageable job keeping her pitches around the plate, however Agawam was feeling it at the plate and sitting dead-red on McNerney’s fastballs. Danielle Stratton allowed the inning to continue by reaching on another error (4 total by Westfield) and Paige Circosta, a junior batting .500, brought in two more runs with a single to left. A Reilly Wieners single was next followed by Rebecca Fondakowski’s line drive to center to plate another run. Alexa Smith, running for Weiners, scored the final tally of the frame after Lauren Brodeur smacked a single to left to make it a 6-1 contest.

“Usually when we get down by a run we never seem to do to well but today we were just so fired up," Danielle Circosta said. “When we got up big I was able to relax and breath more. I didn’t have to worry about things except to just make the pitch and let my defense make the play."

The onslaught continued in the fifth as Agawam scored three more times on RBI by Stratton, Paige Circosta (3 hits, 3 RBI) and Wieners (3 hits, 4 RBI).

The Brownies were hardly finished. In the sixth, they added to the Bombers’ on-going misery. Rhealt and Jenna Fenton each drove in a run and Wieners, a junior who is batting .579 this season, sent three more runner across the plate thanks to a bases-clearing double which then forced umpires to call this contest in accordance with the 12-run mercy rule.

“I could tell when we came here today that something special was going to happen for us,” Brownies coach Kathy Georgina said. “I think now, that once we know how we can play, there’s no going back. I think these girls know what our potential is. Danielle’s pitches were working great and hitting her spot. Knowing her personality I knew she wanted to pitch today. It’s pretty awesome. I think our girls’ confidence after this game will be 10 times greater.”