The dream could conclude in state championships for

By David Carducci Record-Courier staff writer Published:

The dream could conclude in state championships for Randolph Jenior Ford, the Suffield Lions and Marlboro Custom Poly Bag Saturday as all three clubs play for the title in their respective leagues in Brimfield.

The A League (ages 9 and 10) championship game, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., matches Randolph against the Brunswick Hornets.

For the second time in recent memory, Randolph's hopes for a state championship include a battery made up of twin sisters.

"Our pitcher, Ashley Jarvis, has had an excellent season," said Randolph Jenior Ford coach Karla Bedard. "She is a very good pitcher, and she can also hit the ball out of the park. Her twin sister Ashley is our catcher, and she's also had a very good year. I don't know what it is about twins and Randolph, but a few years ago Randolph had a team finish either first or second in the state with twins. These two work really well together."

Another player who has played a big part in Randolph's 13-2-1 season has been second baseman Amanda Crider.

"Amanda is very dependable," said Bedard. "You can always count on her to get a single or a double ... With this team you can depend on everything. You can depend on our hitting, our defense and our pitching. I thing that's why we got this far. We have a great combination of all those things, and none is stronger than the other."

Randolph also has its lucky yellow coconut, which was brought back from vacation by one of the players on the team.

"That coconut has become our good luck charm," said Bedard. "It really works. The girls rub it before every game and before every at-bat. I think that keeps the girls loose and helps them get over any nerves. We have a lot of fun with it."

The Suffield Lions may not have a lucky coconut to help them in their B League championship game with the South Amherst Lady Cavaliers (4 p.m. Saturday), but they do have a combination of 11 and 12-year-old softball players that could be the best in the state.

"You couldn't ask for a better crew than this," said Suffield coach Steve Shanafelt. "They all get along so well both on and off the field. They all support each other and they all have great attitudes."

That attitude has fostered the perfect 21-0 record posted through the regular season and post season.

Much of that success has been due to the play of top starter Kim Shanafelt.

"Kim has a great attitude towards the game," said Steve Shanafelt, Kim's father. "There is no give up in that kid. That's the nice thing about the whole team. They never say die until the final out.

"Our first baseman Tracy Reschke has just done a marvelous job," continued Shanafelt. "She's little miss everything. Tracy can bunt, slap bunt, hit, whatever we need. And defensively, she can track down anything. She's our No. 1 batter, and she gets the whole thing started. She's really a wild woman on the bases."

Catcher Heather Walker and shortstop Danielle Foss have also played a big part in the Lions success.

"Kim brings the ball pretty well and Heather has stood in there and done a marvelous job at catcher," said Shanafelt. "She's very smart behind the plate, and she's also done well at bat. All the girls have done well. Danielle Foss, our shortstop, is a very good hitter, and she's made some great plays defensively.

"This team is starting to really learn the game ... One of the parents I've coached with ( in D League) came down to watch us, and she said 'my gosh, they really know what they're doing, and that's just a little B team playing.' What better compliment than to have someone say that we resemble a little high school team."

For high school softball players, you can only hope to "put it all together" the way Marlboro Custom Poly Bag coach Sue Parrish has watched her team play this season.

"It's just been a great year," said Parrish. "We have a lot of young girls on this team, and they've really come together as a team."

Marlboro is in for its biggest test of the season Saturday at 4 p.m. in the D League championship game against the defending state champion Lorain Lady Diamonds.

"From what I understand, Lorain won the state championship last year, and that's really all I know about them," said Parrish. "We're real excited to be playing for the championship."

Marlboro has a lot to be excited about in its sister tandem of pitchers, senior Pam Parrish and sophomore Jenny Parrish.

"Both Pam and Jenny have done very well," said Sue Parrish, the girls' mother. "Neysa Egli has had a great season. She plays first base for Marlington High School, but we put her at shortstop because she's such a good athlete. The majority of the girls on the team play for the high school. A couple of the girls run track, but they love this game, so they play softball in the summer.

"I think this is the furthest any of the girls have made it (in the tournament) so we are very excited. It's been a very successful season ... We've taken it one day at a time, and we've stayed focused."

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