Whippets look to clinch a spot in state tourney
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Windham - posted Wed., May. 25, 2011
As of May 21, the Windham High School softball team had a record of 7-10, with three games left in the regular season. “That’s pretty good, considering that we play five out of our 20 games against the top six teams in the state,” said coach Mike Lessard. Last year, the team was just shy of making it to the state tournament, with seven wins. “We should have been at the states, and we have that in mind this year,” said Lessard. True to form, the team has improved over the course of the season. “We usually get better as the season goes on,” said Lessard. The Whippets have won four out of their last six games. They need one more win to make it to the tourney this year.
There will be a couple of keys to a successful performance during the tourney, if the Whippets qualify. “Definitely, we need to continue to develop our freshman pitcher,” said Lessard. Windham lost two strong pitchers after the 2010 season, and freshman Hayley Spector stepped in and has been improving steadily.
Another important factor will be the team’s four seniors. “We’re going to have to rely upon our seniors,” said Lessard. “They are number one through four in the lineup, so we need them to set the tone for us.”
This is Mike Lessard’s eighth year coaching the Whippets. Co-coaching with Lessard is Steve Gonzales, whose daughter, Desiree, is a senior playing with the Windham Tech team.
“They’re very enthusiastic, encouraging and supportive,” said senior Justine Lambert, of her coaches.
“They teach us more than just softball,” added senior Chiana Montesi. “Whenever we’re down, they won’t let us give up. They never let us quit.”
The four seniors on this year’s Windham High School softball team are Caitlin Collins, Chiana Montesi, Justine Lambert and Cara Begley.
Collins plays third base, and has been a member of the team since her freshman year. A Willimantic resident, Collins also plays field hockey and competes as a diver. She plans to attend Stonehill College in Massachusetts next year, where she would like to play field hockey.
Center fielder Chiana Montesi is a transfer from Bolton, who now resides in Columbia. Montesi also plays soccer, and plans to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute next year to study biomedical engineering. Montesi is a member of the National Honor Society.
Catcher Cara Begley has been playing with the team since her freshman year. She lives in Willimantic, and also plays soccer and basketball. Begley is an honors student who plans to attend Mitchell College to study psychology. She would like to continue playing basketball and softball.
Short stop Justine Lambert has been a member of the team since her freshman year. She lives in Columbia, and also plays soccer and basketball. Lambert is an honors student who is currently enrolled in five AP courses. She plans to attend the University of Louisiana next year to study physical therapy.