Lauren Tierney, a senior catcher, is home at bat and behind the plate on the Roger Williams University softball team.
Lauren Tierney, a senior catcher, is home at bat and behind the plate on the Roger Williams University softball team.
David Silverman

Tierney grows into her leadership role

Lauren Tierney , a senior catcher at Roger Williams University, said she learns something new about the game, and her position, every day.

The Hawks leadoff hitter, a two-year captain, is obviously a quick learner.

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A former three-sport athlete at Middleborough High, Tierney was batting .446 through 24 games (33-for-74). Her team-high 15 walks and 10 times being hit by a pitch contributed to a .586 on-base percentage that ranked in the top 25 nationally in Division 3.

Tierney had also stolen 12 bases in 13 attempts and scored a team-best 35 runs.

“If I had to lay down sacrifice bunts in every at-bat, get hit by a pitch, or steal a base to help our team win, that’s what matters most,’’ said Tierney who after Tuesday’s double-header split at Clark ranked first in the Commonwealth Coast Conference in stolen bases and third in average and RBIs (22).

“Lauren thrives under pressure, and this has been her finest season. She’s an extension of our coaching staff, and I trust her to call our pitches because she’s a student of the game,’’ said Roger Williams head coach Joyce Maudie, whose team was 11-13 overall (9-1 CCC) and had won eight of its last 10 games prior to weekend doubleheaders against Eastern Nazarene and University of New England.

Even as an 8-year-old catching for the first time with the Dairy Queen-sponsored travel team in her hometown, Tierney was curious how to handle pitchers and outguess hitters.

She soaked up as much knowledge as she could from older sister Nikki, a Patriot League All-Star pitcher at Middleborough High who hit .400 and posted a 1.50 ERA as a senior captain in 2004.

“I was always at Nikki’s games with my mom, and I made it a game within a game by anticipating what pitch I would have called,’’ said Tierney, whose mother, Shelly, was a cheerleader and swimmer and her father, Bob, a gymnast at Brockton High.

The 5-foot-5, 125-pound Tierney said her slender build has its advantages.

“I use my quickness to block balls in the dirt and prevent passed balls, and it also helps in taking that extra base,’’ said Tierney.

At Middleborough High, Tierney was a softball captain her junior and senior years. Middleborough won the Patriot League title in 2008 and 2009. She was also a forward on the soccer team and shooting guard and captain on the basketball team.

“Although Lauren played in the back court, I’d have her guard the other team’s center because she was the toughest kid on our team,’’ recalled Middleborough High athletic director Mike Perry.

Tierney was also a four-year starting backstop for softball coach Tanya Sullivan.

“Lauren’s defense was incredible, and her offense was solid. I always felt confident when she was coming to the plate,’’ said Sullivan, who also coached Nikki Tierney. “Lauren was always there for her teammates, and she would do anything to help them. That she’s done so well in college is no surprise to me.’’

As a college freshman, Tierney was asked to convert from hitting from the right side to lefty slapper by her previous coach.

“But then he changed his mind and I went back to what I had always done, but it took awhile to adapt to my old style,’’ said Tierney, who batted .227 as a freshman, .301 as a junior, and .270 last year when she also posted a .468 slugging percentage and a career-high five homers.

“I had a sit-down with coach Maudie prior to the season, and we talked about our goals, because I’m the only upperclassman on the team,’’ said Tierney, who coached a girls U-14 team this past summer. “Being captain is an honor, but I would want to be a leader with or without the title and a mentor to my teammates.’’

A finance and Spanish major, Tierney said she envisions being a coach or administrator at the college level.

“It’s a challenge to balance academics and athletics, and that experience is something I can hopefully bring to my career,’’ said Tierney, whose teammates include sophomore infielder Stefany McCarthy of Walpole, a graduate of Norfolk County Agricultural High.

Area athletes gain play of week honors

Amber White, Tierney’s close friend and former Middleborough High batterymate, was among five area athletes from Bridgewater State University honored Monday by the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference.

White, a junior, was selected MASCAC Softball co-Pitcher of the Week, and teammate Jennifer Shaw, a senior from Brockton, was Softball Player of the Week; Patrick Martin, a junior from Rockland, was Baseball co-Pitcher of the Week; Lauren Geary, a freshman from Hull, was Women’s Lacrosse co-Player of the Week, and junior Stephan Cawley of Dedham was Men’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week. Highlights: Martin was leading the conference with an 0.40 ERA and was off to a 4-0 start; Geary established a school record with 20 draws against Worcester State en route to setting the program’s single-season mark; and Cawley placed first in the shot put and set a school outdoor record in the discus at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Corsair Classic.

Team unbeaten for third straight year

The Hanover sixth-grade travel basketball team, coached by Tim Buckley and Tom Carroll, recorded its third consecutive perfect season, going 31-0 and winning the South Shore League’s A division regular season and tournament titles.

“What makes it so satisfying is that the things people who watch us play compliment us on are the very same things we stress as coaches,’’ said Buckley, “passing, defense, attitude, behavior, and hustle.’’

The team, 91-0 since they were fourth-graders and winners of three outside tournaments, including its own invitational, is composed of brothers Steven and Michael Simon, and Will and James Clarkson, and Stephen Gill , Joe Clinton, Andrew Carroll, Jackson Butler, and Kevin Buckley .