High school season winds down

WINSTED — Gilbert and Northwestern’s time on the diamond has ended. The Yellowjackets and Highlanders softball and baseball programs experienced mixed success this season, and as they welcome a long summer break, the Tri-State Baseball League’s season has just begun.GilbertThe Yellowjackets’ baseball program struggled endlessly this season. Despite some very solid pitching efforts from Gilbert junior Austin Brochu, the team finished just 5-15 overall. The Jackets and head coach Pat Cooke were ambitiously seeking a playoff spot, but were unable to scratch out the necessary wins in a very competitive Berkshire League.It is not all calamity and woe for the Yellowjackets, as the team graduates only one senior, Jaron Kolek, and could see a big return in experienced ballplayers next season.The Lady Jackets surprised many, and maybe even themselves, turning out a hard-earned banner season after years of struggle and toil. The Yellowjackets’ softball program finished 10-11, an enormous improvement over last season’s final record of 3-17. The girls worked their way into the postseason but were ousted in the first round after a 24-4 loss at Morgan.The softball program should also welcome back a wealth of veterans, as they graduate just two seniors this year. Unfortunately for the Jackets, filling the talented cleats of seniors Jess Shotwell and Jennie Fritch will be an arduous task at best.NorthwesternNorthwestern’s youthful baseball squad produced a spectacular season, working a 13-7 overall record as well as a playoff appearance. The Highlanders were unable to battle deeper into the post-season after a late game rally by Stonington at home handed the Highlanders a first-round 23-7 elimination loss.The Highlanders graduate six seniors, including Jaron Morris, Ryan Nelson, Rich Paquette, Mike Bell, Bobby Lippincott and Andrew McCarthy. Sharing a common quality with their crosstown rival, Northwestern’s season allowed a large crew of young ballplayers to gain some crucial experience, and should those players return next season, there will be no shortage of talent to attempt another strong run into the playoffs.Northwestern’s softball squad topped all the local ball clubs with an astounding 19-3 overall record. The Lady Highlanders fought their way into the second round of the playoffs after toppling Planfield at home, but forfeited an early lead against Rocky Hill to take a 12-5 loss at home.The Highlanders graduate three seniors this year, Nicole Bianchi, Casey Burke and Shanley McClave. Similar to their baseball counterpart, Northwestern’s softball squad will remain a serious contender in the Berkshire League should they have a favorable number of returns for next year.Tri-StateThose who are still yearning for local ballgames are urged to check out the Connecticut Tri-State Baseball League for some extremely entertaining and competitive outings. There is no admission charge and plenty of opportunities to catch a game. Schedules, results, and further information can be readily found at www.tristatebaseballct.com.

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