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Center School plays ball.

Byline: Sandy Meindersma

PAXTON - For the first time in recent memory, middle-schoolers at Paxton Center School can play baseball or softball for their school.

"One of the reasons we decided to do this was that our kids were at a disadvantage once they got to the high school," baseball coach Mike Benoit said.

Many of the players started out the season a little rusty, as some of the girls had not played in several years and the boys had only played on the smaller Little League diamond.

"Our team is improving with every game," softball coach Leslie Andreoli said. "I am so proud of how far they have come. They are working so hard, but most of all, they are having a lot of fun."

Although the softball team owns a 1-4 record, the season highlight was the win over Rutland, 15-9.

Mrs. Andreoli said the team was able to pull off a number of double plays, with Caroline Andreoli, Gina Houghton, Morgan Mathieu, Lindsey Gouley and Emily Gigliotti all involved in the 1-2 put-outs.

"Gillian Gleason did an outstanding job pitching," she said.

Mrs. Andreoli said the team's standout players include Jenny Baker, Morgan Houghton, Morgan Mathieu, Emily Gigliotti, Caroline Andreoli, Gillian Gleason and Jill Corazzini.

Rounding out the roster are eighth-grader Courtney Germain, who is currently injured, seventh-grader Laura Lee and sixth-graders Emily Toomey, Karlie McLear and Gabriella Palmer.

"I believe that the PCS team will significantly improve over the next few years," Mrs. Andreoli said. "I am confident that the players coming through the town softball program will feed into the middle school team over the next few years, which will make the PCS team stronger and more competitive.

"And of course, I couldn't do anything without my great assistant, Sarah Paradis!"

At 3-4, the baseball team has a better record than the softball team, but is also struggling as a start-up team.

"This is a first-year program," Mr. Benoit said. "We weren't sure what to expect. Paxton Little League has taught these kids so much - they really made it easy."

Mr. Benoit said he and three other parent volunteers agreed to coach and gathered equipment, while PCS Principal Bobbie French took care of the busing.

"The head coach is Joe Comeau," Mr. Benoit said. "And the other coaches are Drew Stratton and Chris Chianese."

While the players have the skills and several are playing together on an AAU travel team, the move to the larger diamond has been trickier than the coaching staff had hoped.

Mr. Benoit declined to comment on individual players' performances, except to observe that seventh-grade pitcher Brian Boulette stood out as a pitcher, given that this was his first season on the bigger field.

"All 16 of our players have performed extremely well," Mr. Benoit said.

The roster includes eighth-graders Andrew Benoit, third base/outfield; Brendan Gaffney, second base/outfield; Sam Stratton, pitcher/outfield; Kevin Wittmer, pitcher/shortstop; Colin O'Brien, first base; Joe Tanona, outfield; Elijah Cook, catcher/shortstop; Ryan Balciewicz, outfield; and Jamie Ostromecky, first base.

Players from the seventh grade are Dan Parent, pitcher/third base; Sean Toomey, second base; Juvan Cotzee, outfield/catcher; Chris Chianese, outfield/first base/pitcher; and Jason Laraia, outfield.

Derek Comeau, second base/catcher, represents the sixth grade.

Mr. Benoit said a "Nine and Dine" fundraiser for PCS sports teams will be held June 12 at the Blackstone National Golf Club.

ART: PHOTOS

PHOTOG: T&G Staff Photos/STEVE LANAVA

CUTLINE: (1) Paxton Center School first baseman Colin O'Brien, right, looks to tag Chocksett's Cam Carbone during a game played in Sterling versus Chosett Middle School. (2) Paxton Center School's Emily Gigliotti tosses aside an extra bat as she steps to the plate for her turn at bat against Chocksett Middle School. (3) Paxton Center School's Jill Corazzini scores as Chocksett catcher Marissa Young awaits the late throw. (4) Above, Paxton Center School pitcher Gillian Gleason pounces off the mound to gather up a ground ball during a game against Chocksett Middle School. (5) Near right, Paxton shortstop Kevin Wittmer, left, tags Chocksett's Cam Carbone. (6) Far right, Paxton's benchy players keep an eye on the proceedings.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jun 3, 2010
Words:692
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