By Dan Guttenplan
BYFIELD — Governor's Academy softball coach Scott Kingsbury realizes he's not going to be the most popular person in Amesbury over the next four years.
Kingsbury believes he will be regarded as the coach who took one of Amesbury's best softball players out of Amesbury. Freshman Sarah Dupere of Amesbury has provided an immediate lift to Kingsbury's team this season, which may finish with the Govs' first Independent School League title since 2008. The Govs (13-1 overall, 8-0 ISL) can clinch a league title with a victory over Nobles and Greenough today (4 p.m.) at The Governor's Academy.
"I think it's safe to say I'm not on (Amesbury softball coach) Chris Perry's Christmas card list," Kingsbury said. "I've been here 13 years, and I don't think I've ever gotten a single Amesbury kid. They have a great program over there; I was shocked to get Sarah because Amesbury has such a strong program."
Dupere has been close to unhittable on the mound, logging a 13-1 record with an 0.65 ERA. She is also hitting .380 out of the leadoff spot.
For Perry's part, his Amesbury squad is 16-0 due, in part, to the pitching of sophomore Carolina Merrill.
Kingsbury said his program was desperate for a player of Dupere's talent after finishing 12-4 last spring. The team graduated a senior who pitched every game last season, and this year's projected No. 2 starter, fellow freshman Ashland Bedard, tore her ACL during the winter.
"I talked to Sarah in the beginning of the season, and I told her we'd dial back the number of games she pitches," Kingsbury said. "She said she's used to pitching three of our games a week. We've had open tryouts for a second pitcher, and no one was even around the plate. She said she would pitch a doubleheader last Saturday after pitching five games last week. She's incredible."
Dupere initially expressed interest in attending The Governor's Academy last spring when she was an eighth-grader at Amesbury Middle School. Kingsbury met with her during the interview process and learned that Dupere aspires to become a pitcher at an Ivy League school.
"It's not like I first saw her in third grade, and now she's here," Kingsbury said. "I know the academic portion is really important to her. She's very good in the classroom, and she felt she would be challenged academically."
Dupere bats in front of senior first baseman Alex Carpenter, who is the state's all-time leading scorer in hockey. Carpenter has committed to a full athletic scholarship at Boston College.
"Everybody pictures Alex as a hockey player, but she's an excellent softball player," Kingsbury said. "BC is getting a great athlete. Alex and Sarah are my top two players by far."
Lacrosse tradition continues
The Governor's Academy boys lacrosse team appears primed to capture its fifth ISL title in the last seven years. The Govs (12-0 overall, 11-0 ISL) have one of the oldest lacrosse programs in New England with more than 75 years of history.
The program has become somewhat of a feeder system for the top NCAA Division 1 programs in the nation as is evidenced by the 21 Govs lacrosse alumni currently playing at the collegiate level.
Two Governor's Academy alumni are currently playing professional lacrosse in Major League Lacrosse. J.J. Morrissey, a Govs captain in 2002, played for the national champion University of Virginia squad in 2006 and now plays for the Boston Cannons. Martin Cahill, a 2006 Govs captain, was an All-American at University of Delaware last spring and now plays for the Rochester Rattlers.
This season, two Govs seniors — Reed Kennedy (Penn State University) and Clark McMahon (Franklin and Marshall) — have committed to play in college. The Govs' top midfield line, which includes two juniors and a sophomore, will also continue the tradition of playing Division 1 college lacrosse. Juniors J.C. Vivian and Sam Davis have committed to Georgetown and Penn State, respectively. Sophomore Tate Jozokos has verbally committed to University of North Carolina.
The Govs are ranked fourth in New England and 25th in the nation by www.laxpower.com.
"I think we've attracted a lot of good players," Govs coach Peter Bidstrup said. "We have a good system of player development. We have a long tradition of lacrosse at The Academy. Over the last 20 years, we've been known around New England for having a strong program that attracts good players."
College plans for girls lacrosse players
The Governor's Academy girls lacrosse team is still in contention for an ISL title with four games remaining. The Govs (9-2 ISL) are led by goalie Kelsey Duryea, who earned All-America honors from U.S. Lacrosse as a sophomore. The Duke University commit was also selected to the USA U19 world team last spring.
Seniors Hannah Rochman (Connecticut), Haley Gould (Union) and Jill Conway (Bates College) also plan to play lacrosse in college. Fellow senior Kate Leary will play hockey with Carpenter at Boston College.
Experience key for baseball team
The Govs baseball team appears primed to post its first winning league record in eight years. The Govs (7-4 ISL) have seven seniors on the 15-man roster, which coach Mike Kinnealey believes has been key during a season riddled with postponements.
"We have a maturity on the team," Kinnealey said. "We train everyone to pitch. Last week, we had five games due to the break of decent weather, and we came through 5-0. They guys understand what we're trying to do even if they're not on the mound."
Senior Mike Guberman leads the Govs in batting average (.487), hits and stolen bases. Junior Chad Martin leads the team and league in home runs (8). He is also hitting .444 with 17 RBIs.
Junior pitcher Kasey Carollo (2-1, 1.82) has recorded 29 strikeouts since returning from an injury early this season. Kinnealey considers catcher Trevor Holmes, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound backstop, "the best catcher I've seen on either side of the ball all season."