It was late in the Month of March when Arielle Sutton was sitting at her desk -
the weather had been unseasonably warm, so her thoughts were on softball.
No matter how she looked at the names on the paper in front of her, she just
didn`t know what to expect. Her Mom, an avid fan, had recently called her and
asked how the roster looked ...
You see, Arielle Sutton is the coach of the Dedham Middle School girl`s
Softball Team. She was about to begin her second season and everything
up to this point had been a dream.
One year earlier, Sutton met with Dedham`s Athletic Director Mike Plansky,
and interviewed for the position vacated by legendary baseball/softball Coach
Mike Nosky. Once approved, she took over a strong team and led them to a
10-0-1 season. At the end of last year, however, reality set in when she "lost"
nine girls to graduation and the High School Team. Dedham High has always had a good team (this year`s Division Champs) and those girls come from the
Coach Sutton, herself a former Newton North player, knew that this would be
a "rebuilding" year. Of the 14 girls on her list, three didn`t even know how to
hold the bat.
But something magical began to happen. Practice after practice, game after
game, the girls began to gel. Coach Sutton`s eyes lit up, when she explained
how her few veteran players helped bring this group together. They worked on
all of the fundamentals of the game, and victory after victory, their confidence
began to soar.
Much like Principal Gately and Dr. Fraczek`s approach to teaching, Coach
Arielle Sutton used "positive re-enforcement" to help build her team. After
each game, she would award an "MVP" to a player who stood out. That extra
hustle, that good hit or great catch was always recognized.
Ms. Sutton also commends the girl`s parents. The four day per week commitment to softball, in the middle of a busy school year is huge. She explains that parents like Lisa Walsh and Diane Balzarini (among many others) were always around to keep the tubs of Double-Bubble full and the water and oranges coming. It was Dads like Brian Mitchell (father of her team`s twin co-captains) who was just "always there."
So now, after a 21-2 victory against Newton in their last game: Elizabeth
Balzarini - Caroline Mitchell - Kristina Mitchell - Zoe Anastasio - Kasey
Baron - Erin Gilmore - Emma Lane - Christina Maloof - Meg Peckham -
Madison Repetto - Hannah Romanish - Ana Shkurti - Bailey Turner -
and Courtney Walsh can look back at their own "undefeated season."
The 2012 DMS girls finished with an 8-0-2 record.
As for Coach Sutton - well she`s already looking at the girls now in 6th
grade to see "who wants to play softball next year..."