NEWBURYPORT — When the Newburyport softball team takes the field this year, it will be doing so with only three seniors and a new coach in Lori Solazzo.
Some might say this is a daunting task, but to hear Solazzo and her players tell it, they're ready for the challenge.
"I'm excited," Solazzo said of her debut of the varsity stage. "The girls are awesome to work with. We have a very young team, but it seems like they're really ready to go. It's exciting."
Solazzo grew up playing softball at Putnam High in Connecticut. From there, she went on to play volleyball in college, but she admits she wishes she played softball as well.
After college, Solazzo played in co-ed softball leagues before accepting an assistant coaching position at NHS in 2004. She started as an assistant varsity coach and changed roles to lead the junior varsity in 2006. Solazzo, a math teacher at NHS, has also been the 2012 class adviser since those students were freshmen.
The Clippers, under retired coach Pete Murray, sported a record of 17-5 last year, eventually making a second-round exit in the state tournament against Reading. Murray declined to comment on his retirement when contacted by The Daily News. Solazzo knows she has some big shoes to fill.
"(Newburyport) has had some great teams in the past," Solazzo said. "We have some big holes to fill, to be honest. We lost Cassaundra Davis, Rachel Webster and Eleni Kacher at centerfield. (But) we have two veteran pitchers, Molly Rowe and Beth Castantini, who have been solid pitchers. So, I'm expecting good things from them."
This will be Solazzo's first time working on the diamond with co-captains Rowe and Castantini. But she has worked with fellow co-captain and senior Madison Stanton when she was on the JV softball squad.