AMESBURY — Coming into this year, Amesbury softball standout Amanda Schell had already established a well-earned reputation as one of the top infielders in the Cape Ann League.
Schell had just earned back-to-back All-League honors as a shortstop during her sophomore and junior seasons, and she was an integral piece of Amesbury’s run to the Division III North Semifinal a year before.
But having lost all but two starters to graduation, Amesbury coach Chris Perry had a problem. Of the new players coming up, several could play middle infield, and several could fill in the outfield, but none could fill the void left behind the plate at catcher.
So Perry turned to his senior captain and asked her to switch positions. She accepted the challenge.
“I trust his instincts because he’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” Schell said. “So whatever he wanted me to do, I was down to do.”
Despite not having played catcher since her days in Little League baseball as a kid, Schell successfully adjusted to her new position and turned in perhaps her best season yet. Schell had a .453 batting average, a home run, 27 RBIs and 36 runs scored on the season while helping lead her team to the Division III North Championship game.
After the season, Schell was named to her third straight All-League team, and was also honored as the CAL Baker Division’s Player of the Year. Having also earned CAL All-Star status as a freshman, Schell will leave Amesbury High School as one of the most decorated athletes in school history.
For that, The Daily News is proud to honor Schell as its 2014 Softball Player of the Year.
Though it may not have seemed like it from the outside, Schell said the transition from shortstop to catcher was difficult, and she feels like she struggled at the plate sometimes because she was focusing so hard on learning her new position.