hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


November 7, 2013

NECC's own field of dreams

College's softball team resurrected after 18 years

As the classic movie line says, “Build it and they will come.’’

Northern Essex Community College is building its own field of dreams, allowing the school to resurrect its women’s softball program.

NECC Athletic Director Sue MacAvoy thinks she finally has the makings of a renewed softball team and the money to restore the school’s old NECC softball diamond next to the baseball field on Kenoza Street.

With money raised from donations and student activity fees, NECC has completed most of the work to restore the softball field. The restoration comes in response to a new interest among students to field a softball team.

NECC plans to re-enter a college softball conference next year. The school’s softball team has not competed in about 18 years, MacAvoy said.

There are no cornfields around the diamond from which players can mystically emerge, but there is a new clay in the infield, a rebuilt backstop, and the trees and branches that covered the baselines and vines clinging to poles and seats have been cut back. Coach Robert Gillespie plans to meet with players this fall, train this winter and start using the field in the spring.

“They’ve put a new infield in, they put new benches in, they’ve done some fencing and they’re going to redo the backstop,’’ Gillespie said. “But right now with the budget, that’s about all they can do.”

While students have shown an interest in softball for the 17 years MacAvoy has been with NECC, no one ever gave the idea any sustained effort until last year. Eighteen women approached her to start a new softball team.

Once a coach and player, MacAvoy has had requests like this before, but this year they turned into a recruiting drive that lured enough players for a team.

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