Softball 2019: Preview into New Leadership


Jennifer Martell

Hopkinton Hiller’s Varsity Softball team.

On a bright spring day, the swoosh of neon yellow softballs fill the air and the dust from the diamond begins to be kicked up into its signature cloud. The bases are polished and sparkling white and home plate sits in anticipation amongst the waiting dugouts. The Hopkinton Girls Varsity Softball team takes to the field and begins to run drills in preparation for their upcoming season.

Year after year, Hillers Softball has displayed growth, as they continue to have successful seasons. Last year, they ended their 2018 season with a record of 13 wins and 8 losses. They made the playoff tournament as the thirteenth seed and winning the first round against Duxbury. Unfortunately, they lost their next and final round of the tournament to King Philip but were proud with their season.

Having one senior player, Emma Murphy, last year, they have added a few new girls to the varsity team this year to fill the space this season.

“We have a young team… we have gained a lot of young talent,” says senior captain, Katy Holly.

Senior Captain, Katy Holly
Camilla Schemmel
Senior Captain Katy Holly

After two years under their previous coach, this year, the team is under the leadership of a new varsity coach, Shannon Allberry, a freshman history teacher. Though she is new to coaching in the varsity position, she is no stranger to the sport, and has actually been coaching softball for nine years and most recently was the JV coach. She has even been some of the girls’ eighth-grade coach, which will definitely be an added bonus to the chemistry of the team, as she is already familiar with many of them. She will be accompanied by Jennifer Martell, an English teacher, who will be the assistant varsity coach for this 2019 season.

“I’m very excited. I’ve been coaching in the program for nine years so I know everybody, I’ve coached almost everybody before and I’m very excited to be able to coach everyone again and see how much they’ve grown,” said Allberry.

Allberry feels there is much to look forward to with such a talented group of players. She hopes to provide them with any guidance they need throughout the season.

“I’m most looking forward to being able to work with the players and help them achieve their goals for the season on and off the field,” said Allberry.

The school’s athletic director, Deirdre King, is also excited to see what Allberry is going to bring to the team this year and has confidence she will guide the team to another successful season.

“We are very excited to begin a new softball season under first-year head coach, Shannon Allberry. Although Coach Allberry is not new to the program and has been a member of the coaching staff for the past nine years, she brings fresh ideas and new energy to a talented group of fun and competitive young ladies,” said King.

Alongside the coaches are the two senior captains, Katy Holly, and Emily Whelan.

Katy Holly plays outfield and has been on varsity since her freshman year and over the course of her high school softball career, she has hit a grand total of three home runs.

Holly is looking forward to being coached by Allberry and Martell because she knows that they will not only be helpful in guiding the team to accomplish their goals for the season, but they will also receptive of the needs of all the players which is incredibly important to the overall success of the team.

“I’m excited, I think it’ll be good. It’s good that we’ve already experienced them through JV, and I had coach Allberry in eighth grade. I also know Ms. Martel, so I think it’s going to be good that we know both of them already. I’m also really excited because they tell us all the time that it’s our team, and I think that means that we’re going to be able to make it what we want it to be,” said Holly.

She describes the team’s energy as upbeat and exciting as herself and the other girls are all really ready to get onto the field and start playing. Holly looks forward to this season because of the success they had last year and all the fun the team has when they are together. Holly feels it’s important that they stay focused and work hard when they need to, but also thinks it’s important to enjoy the smaller moments when they all can just have fun together.

“We have so much fun. At our last game last season, we brought bucket hats and fun toys and at the end of the game, when we high fived we all wore our bucket hats and it was just so funny and so fun,” said Holly.

Holly will be continuing her athletic career in college next year, playing softball at Manhattan College in New York.

Katy signs to commit to Manhattan College for softball.

The other captain, Emily Whelan, has also been on varsity since her freshman year and has jumped around to many different positions. Last year she spent most of the season as the team’s pitcher. However, this year, she will be playing middle infield at second base and shortstop.

Camilla Schemmel
Senior Captain, Emily Whelan.

“We have a really good team this year. Throughout middle school, and especially eighth grade, I was a pitcher and I ended up playing that position a lot in high school. But after middle school, a lot of girls got bigger while I kind of stayed the same size, so it wasn’t the best position for me anymore. This year though, we have added two new freshman pitchers and a junior pitcher to the team who are all really good and I’m excited to see how they do, and of course, I’m also very excited to get back to middle infield,” said Whelan.

Whelan also feels that last year the girls bonded a lot and became stronger as a team because of that. She is excited to see how they do this year with such strong team chemistry and the shared determination they have all expressed.

“I really think we’ll do well this year. A lot of teams in the league lost a lot of their top players but we actually gained a lot of talent this year so I think that is in our favor. It’s obviously early in the season so we have a lot we can do to prepare and improve but I definitely think we are on a really good track,” said Whelan.

Whelan will also be continuing her softball career next year at UMass Amherst.

The girls’ first home game will be on Monday, April 8, on the brand new turf, and the team hopes to see some of their classmates there cheering them on.