Senior captains with lots of experience lead Stafford softball

By Kathryn Elliott - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Thu., May. 3, 2012
Stafford co-captain Dani Clark plays center field and was named All-Conference in 2011.
Stafford co-captain Dani Clark plays center field and was named All-Conference in 2011.

At the conclusion of the 2011 softball season, the Stafford High School Bulldogs wrapped up with awards, accolades and the selection of next year’s captains. Elected by their peers, Dani Clark, Emilie Pierolo, Tori Utter and Jessica Simpson were chosen as captains for 2012, each bringing individual strengths to the job.

“Jess stepped up and took over pitching last season and was awesome,” coach Steve Budaj said about Simpson. “It has continued onto this year.”

In Stafford’s season opener against Enfield, the team came away with a decisive 10-0 victory, but Simpson took away the memory of a lifetime. “I still can’t believe I had a perfect game,” she said. “It felt really good and made me feel proud of myself.” A four-year player, Simpson is still debating colleges, but plans on studying early childhood development.

“Dani made All-Conference last season and controls our center field,” Budaj said of Clark’s talent. “She has not committed an error this season.”

Clark, also a four-year player, recalled her favorite game this season. “Beating Somers; that was the best, especially since we have lost to them three years in a row.” Planning on attending MCC in the fall, Clark will study physical therapy.

“Emilie is the rock behind home plate.  She made All-Conference three years in a row,” the coach said about Pierolo. “She calls the pitches and leads the team in hitting with five home runs.”

Citing games with Ellington and Canton as highlights thus far, Pierolo is looking forward to studying nursing at MCC. “This year we are all doing our best and playing well all around,” she said.

Described by Budaj as the glue in the Stafford infield, Utter will attend Nichols College and play both softball and field hockey. “Tori is the coach on the field,” Budaj said. “She calls the bunt coverage and calms everyone down when we get nervous.”

At third base, Utter is noticing improvement in her game. “I’m seeing and hitting the ball better this year,” she said.

“I would like us to get better with each game and peak as a team in the tournament,” Budaj said. “The NCCC has a lot of quality teams, so to make it into that tournament would be awesome as well.”

A full schedule can be found at

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