NARRAGANSETT—Last season the Narragansett softball team went winless in Division II and more often than not couldn’t hang with their competition.
Now in Division III, the Mariners might be on the polar opposite end of the spectrum.
’Gansett opened up the season with a 10-0 drubbing of Bishop Keough in five innings Wednesday in a game where it was abundantly clear the Koalas had little to no chance against the Mariners.
“We looked good,” Narragansett coach Mike Salomone said. “I haven’t seen every team so I don’t know where we’ll fall but I know we’ve been practicing well.
“We’ve improved since last year, I can see it in every practice and we just look better than we were last year.”
Sophomore pitcher Jordan Cameron tossed a no-hitter with no walks and allowed just one
base runner to reach on an error.
Offensively ’Gansett did whatever it wanted.
Every player had the green light if they got on first and the Mariners generated run after run by stealing second, then third and finally scoring on a pass ball. Of the Mariners 10 runs only three were earned and they were the three that ended the game.
In the bottom of the fifth Narragansett began going one base at a time and after loading the bases Maggie Salomone hit a triple well over the Keough left fielder’s head to clear the bases and end the game.
If there is anything to learn from Wednesday’s game it’s this; the Mariners are in softball limbo.
Had ’Gansett stayed in Division II it likely would be in D-II South, which features East Greenwich and West Warwick – the D-II champ and runner-up, respectively, last season – and three teams – Exeter-West Greenwich, East Greenwich and Prout – which made it into the double elimination portion of the tournament.
Throw South Kingstown into that mix and it’s difficult to imagine the Mariners not finishing in the bottom of that subdivision.
“I know in Division II in the division that we would have been in we would have been up against it,” Salomone says. “Those are perennial powerhouses.”
The other side of the coin is where the Mariners are now.
Having not seen the rest of D-III Salomone is not going to speculate on the level of competition of the rest of the division but Diane Cazzarro, an assistant coach at Keough for the last three seasons, has a better idea of where the Mariners should stand.
“I don’t foresee them having a problem in Division III at all,” Cazzarro says. “As we pulled up I was like, ‘why did they pull them down to three.’”
There’s little reason to think that ’Gansett is not the favorite to win the D-III title; the talent on their roster is better than it was last season and they’re now playing against lesser competition.
Rogers – a team that beat the Mariners twice last season in close games – followed Narragansett down to D-III but this season’s ’Gansett squad is significantly upgraded.
Cameron – a crafty left-handed hurler – is talented enough to pitch in Division II and likely will be able to overpower most hitters she faces in D-III.
“She works hard and she listens,” Salomone said. “We’ve got Fred Lindsley helping us this year – obviously that’s [former Narragansett pitching great] Hannah’s dad – and he knows what he’s talking about.
“He helps us so, so much because I don’t know anything about pitching so I had to get somebody that can help her. She has a pitching coach and all we’re working about is throwing strikes.”
The Mariners bring back nearly their entire infield from a season ago, with junior Kelsey Hagan behind the plate, senior Maddie Cote at first, junior Cat Tierney at second, senior Ali Catrovillari at short and talented sophomore Chelsea Sahagian at third.
Senior captains Hannah Maymon and Maggie Salomone are in center and right field, respectively, while sophomore Christina Bailey is expected to be in left. Sophomore Mackenzie Davis started in left Wednesday and will see time at the corner outfield positions this season.
’Gansett has a huge team this spring as Salomone did not make cuts but if the Mariners take care of business like they did Wednesday playing time shouldn’t be too hard to come by.
Narragansett will be back in action today at 4 p.m. when they travel to take on Central Falls at Macomber Stadium.
As far as the schedule goes one game to keep an eye on will be the Mariners only non-league game of the season, an 11 a.m. start at Prout.