hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

Sports

November 7, 2013

NECC's own field of dreams

College's softball team resurrected after 18 years

(Continued)

To coach the new team, MacAvoy brought in Gillespie, an experienced girls softball coach who recently moved to this area from New Jersey and who teaches in Georgetown.

“I want to put a respectable team together,’’ Gilispie said. “The baseball team has done very well at NECC. There’s no reason that a women’s sport like softball shouldn’t do well also.

“There’s a lot of interest generated, a lot of excitement,’’ he said. “We have about 18 girls that are interested in it, so far. There seems to be a high interest from kids that played in high school. We have girls that enjoy the game and want to get back into it. They want to get back at it at a different level.’’

While the rest of the school’s collegiate teams have excelled and built NECC’s reputation as one of the state’s prominent athletic junior colleges, the softball team lapsed.

“This is a great opportunity to reintroduce the sport back into our school,’’ said NECC President Lane Glenn. “Athletics are an important component in higher education.’’

“We have some of the highest rated teams in the junior college sports,’’ he said. “Our baseball team made it to the National Junior College Athletic Association league’s World Series in Texas this May.’’

The softball team will begin organizing as the school’s next semester starts in January.

“We bring them in, have a meeting, make sure they’re registered for classes as a full-time student,’’ MacAvoy said. “They need to meet the eligibility requirements of the NJCAA. They must all have and pass a physical.’’

The team will begin playing in March and finish the season in May. It will play most of its games in March and April. MacAvoy said she believes the season will have about 20 games.

She said the program is looking for hard-working, committed players who intend to pursue high levels of academics.

“That’s the main thing to start with,’’ she said. “We want people who love the game, who want to continue their education.’’

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