LAWRENCE — Three years ago, Boston Latin’s softball team missed out on winning its first Dual County League title in school history by one run -- a 2-1 11-inning loss to Westford in the final regular-season game of the year.
To make matters worse, that was the year the team graduated All-Scholastic pitcher Emily Berardi.
But after that 2011 season, a group of five sophomores -- Mary Demora, Mallory O’Brien, Meghan Burns, Kim Miller, and Sally Gillis -- made a pact to win a league title before they graduated.
“We figured that we just had to leave some sort of legacy up there because we’re not going to be able to play softball for Latin forever,” said Demora, who along with the other four made good on that pact, with Latin securing the DCL title this season.
On Wednesday, their high school softball careers came to an end with an 11-4 loss to Central Catholic in the quarterfinals of the Division 1 North state tournament in Lawrence.
For a half-inning, it seemed coach Tim Holland would get another gift from his senior class. Latin, which beat Everett, 3-0, in the opening round, scored three runs in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. Junior catcher Paige Mulrey hit an RBI double and O’Brien added an RBI single in that inning.
But just as fast as they took the lead, they lost it.
Central Catholic countered with seven runs in the third to take an 8-3 edge. Leadoff hitter Krista Maloney had three hits in the game -- a single, a double, and a solo home run in the fifth inning. Karoline Leavitt hit a three-run double in the big third inning.
“It’s a little tough,” Demora said. “We had that run that put us up, 3-1, and that kind of fired us up, but their hitters were really, really on today. They just batted up and down the lineup.”
No. 4 Central Catholic (18-4) advances to the semifinals to play top-seeded Concord Carlisle at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Martin Field in Lowell.
“They came out and put some runs on the board, and we talked about finding ways to put some people on base,” Central Catholic coach Stacy Ciccolo said. “We put a couple people on base and then Karoline unloaded a nice double to clear the bases and I think everyone relaxed after that and hitting got a little contagious after that.”
No. 5 Boston Latin finishes its season 17-5, a record Holland said is the second-best in his 12-year tenure.
“Give Central credit, they hit the ball hard, they hit it where we weren’t,” Holland said.
Holland, who started teaching physical education at Latin six years ago, said he’ll miss the five seniors who made that pledge.
“This was the first class I came in with,” he said. “They were seventh graders when I came into the school teaching, and since I’ve been teaching, they’ve qualified for the tournament every year. Whereas the five years before that, we hadn’t.
"It’s just a special, special group of kids.”
Holland has four juniors coming back next year, including Lauren O’Shea, who was third or fourth in the league in hitting, and Mulrey, who hit well over .400 this year.
“We’re going to graduate a lot of hits and a lot of leadership certainly, but we have four good juniors coming back,” Holland said.
Junior pitcher Kaitlin Berry, who struck out three batters Wednesday despite an injured foot, is also returning. She said this group of seniors has taught her a lot about leadership.
“I learned basically to push myself as hard as I can, because this group of seniors, they come to practice every day," she said. "They work their hardest and you can see it in them the way they play and the way they pick everyone up.
“If you make an error, they pick you up. They just want everyone to work their hardest and they want to win and be the best they can.”
Demora said it hadn't sunk in that her high school softball career is over.
“No, not really,” she said. “I mean, I’m happy I had all these years with a Latin jersey, and I wouldn’t give them away for anything.”
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