Exeter native hitting well in junior season at UNCW

 Junior Janel Gamache is a key performer for the North Carolina Wilmington softball team.

The 5-foot-11 junior from Exeter and a Moses Brown graduate, is currently playing first base for the Seahawks who are 2-7 to start the season. A versatile performer, she also does some pitching. As a freshmen, she played shortstop, a little second base and pitched.

All that moving around has not hurt Gamache at the plate. She is hitting .370 (10-for-27) with three doubles, a home run with eight runs batted in this season. She hit .333 with eight home runs and 21 runs batted in as a sophomore, playing all 22 games and starting 20 in the pandemic shortened season. As a freshman, she hit .280 with four home runs and 28 RBI in 54 games and 52 starts.

“Janel is the ultimate competitor who wants to see herself and her team perform at a high level on a consistent basis,” coach Kristy Norton said. “She is one of the most mentally tough athletes on our team.”

That showed up in the Seahawks’ 5-2 victory over Appalachian State on Feb. 28. She played first base, but then came in as a relief pitcher to preserve the victory, giving up a hit and a walk but no runs in 2.2 innings.

“Playing first base and then coming in to pitch is not an easy thing to do,” Norton said. “Janel is starting to become the true leader for the program and we will be better because of that.”

Claire Hanlon (East Greenwich)

The Holy Cross senior finished 11th out of 80 runners at the Patriot League Cross Country Championship last Friday in Bethlehem, Pa. The St. Mary’s Bay View graduate covered the 3.7 mile course in a personal best time of 20.36.6. She finished 50th in the championship in 2019 with a 6,000 meter time of 23:35.7. Hanlon has made just one other start this winter. She finished first in the mile indoors at the Colgate Invitational on Feb. 21 in Hamilton, N.Y. with a personal best time of 5:10.67.

Caleb Wurster (Coventry)

The redshirt sophomore left-hander is 2-0 in four games pitching for the Connecticut baseball team, the Huskies 4-6 after splitting a two-game series with Coastal Carolina last Sunday and Monday in Conway, S.C. The Bishop Hendricken graduate has a 0.00 earned run average. In four games, he has worked 10 innings and given up five hits and three runs, all unearned, with four walks and 17 strikeouts. Wurster was 1-0 with two saves pitching in six games for Connecticut in last season’s pandemic shortened season.

Aiden Tierney (East Greenwich)

The sophomore finished eighth out of 50 runners in the Colonial Athletic Association Cross Country Championship last Friday in Winnabow, N.C. He posted a personal best time of 24:42.5 in the 4.97 mile race. Tierney finished 11th in that race as a freshman when he covered the 8.000 meter course in Newmark, Va. with a time of 25:27.5. His personal record at that distance (24:33.0) came at the Royals Cross Country Challenge on Oct. 11, 2019 in Charlotte, N.C.

Ashley O’Loughlin (Coventry)

The senior is doing a great job in the weight throw for the Rhode Island women’s track team. She opened the season by finishing third in a tri-meet against Providence and UMass-Lowell on Feb. 11 in Kingston with a personal best toss of 48 feet, 11 ¼ inches. The Coventry High graduate finished fourth with a heave of 47 feet, 7 ¾ inches in a tri-meet with Providence and Northeastern on Feb. 25, also in Kingston. Freshman Versavia Goretoy (West Warwick) had a good meet on Feb. 11, finishing third in the long jump (16 feet, 4 ½ inches), fourth in the 60 hurdles (9.38) and seventh in the 300 (44.52).

Anna Kalooski (Coventry)

The freshman is starting at midfield for the Providence women’s soccer team, the Friars 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Big East Conference after a 1-0 loss to No. 21-ranked Georgetown in a league game last Sunday in Washington, D.C. The Coventry High graduate collected her first collegiate goal in a 4-0 non-league victory over Bryant on Feb. 21 in Providence. Kalooski has also helped the defense that has given up just two goals with two shutouts.

Brooke Young (West Warwick)

The 5-foot-6 guard scored 14 points to help the Rhode Island College women’s basketball team top Keene State 50-38 to capture its first-ever Little East Conference title last Saturday in Providence. The Anchorwomen were seeded No. 1 and finished with an 11-0 record. Young, a West Warwick High graduate, had 14 points in a 72-20 triumph over Plymouth State in the semifinals. She finished the season with a 12.0 average and connected on 26 of 59 3-point attempts (44.1 percent).

Vanessa Oatley (South Kingstown)

The Penn State softball team has started the season 0-6 and the sophomore left-hander is the only one of four pitchers not to be tagged with a loss. Oatley, a Prout School graduate, has pitched in relief in four games and has a 2.17 earned run average. In 9.2 innings, she has given up four hits and four runs, three earned, with three walks and eight strikeouts. In last year’s pandemic-shortened season, Oatley pitched in 15 games with eight starts and had a 2-5 record. Both of her victories were shutouts.

Oluchi Ezemma (Hope Valley)

The junior had 10 points and seven rebounds, but her Holy Cross women’s basketball team’s season come to an end with a 75-57 loss to Lehigh in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament last Sunday in Bethlehem, Pa. The Crusaders ended with a 7-8 record. The Moses Brown graduate started all 15 games and averaged 9.0 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds a game. 

She had two double-doubles. Ezemma also had 23 assists, 16 steals and five blocked shots.

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