By Jim Sullivan
---- — She’s the strong and silent type — and she’ll strike you out in a heartbeat.
Amesbury native Sarah Dupere, a junior at The Governor’s Academy, already has quite a few accolades under her belt. An Independent School League softball MVP as a freshman, Dupere was also part of the Govs’ back-to-back ISL champs who went 16-1 in 2011 and 16-5 in 2012, a season where she sported a 0.58 ERA in league play.
“She’s a lead-by-example kid,” 15-year Governor’s coach Scott Kingsbury says of his junior pitcher. “She’s passionate about the sport. She’ll do whatever I ask her to do for the team. She’s the ultimate team player.”
Dupere started to get an idea that she might be good in softball when she played Little League in Amesbury and was able to go toe to toe with the boys.
“I could see that I could be just as good as them and I really started to like it,” Dupere says of her former male teammates.
“I’ve been playing since I was really young. My dad (David) really knows a lot about it. I was brought up around it and I fell in love with it. It’s just something I’ve always liked to play.”
Dupere made the jump to pitcher when she started playing softball. Pitching in the underhand fashion allows softball pitchers to go a lot further. But in her freshman year with the Govs, Dupere was their only pitcher. Dupere rose to the occasion, including pitching all 14 innings of a doubleheader on the way to earning her MVP award that season.
“I remember before the game (coach) was trying out all these pitchers,” Dupere says of the first game of that doubleheader. “Just people who hadn’t even pitched before in case I was burnt out. But I knew that, for the team, I had to do it.”
Dupere’s success is apparently contagious as well. She missed a repeat in the MVP honors last year because she was beat out by battery-mate, senior catcher Paola Otero.
“I don’t think you’ll meet a better one-two combo,” Kingsbury says of Dupere and Otero. “I’m sure there’s a few out there that are probably a bit better, but these two are outstanding. I’ve seen enough softball to know that these two kids are pretty special.”
“I love working with her, she’s one of my favorites,” Dupere says of her catcher. “She knows the game really well and she’s really smart about it. We are definitely competitive with each other, but it just helps us to get better.”
A three-sport athlete with field hockey and indoor track rounding out her year, Kingsbury credits a lot of Dupere’s success to the time she puts into the game while off the field.
“Here is a kid that goes to see her pitching coach quite a bit,” says Kingsbury. “She plays a lot of tournament ball. She is constantly working out. She’s not a very big kid. But she’s put together. She works very hard off the field. She’s a very dedicated player.”
While the strong, silent type with a small ERA can do a lot for a team, Kingsbury still sees some room for improvement
“She’s very nice,” says Kingsbury. “But my challenge to her this year is to develop that killer instinct. Get her to be a little bit more vocal.”
Not a problem, says Dupere.
“This year, I feel like I have a lot more authority as a junior,” says Dupere. “I know a lot more about the game now, so I definitely feel like I will speak up. I earned my place on the team and know where I stand.”