Agbay, Garbarino and infectious enthusiasm send Shrewsbury softball past Revere

Colonials start postseason strong with preliminary-round win

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Agbay, Garbarino and infectious enthusiasm send Shrewsbury softball past Revere
Shrewsbury’s infield gathers before the start of the inning. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

SHREWSBURY – The Shrewsbury Colonials softball team focuses on the little things – and it’s paid off in a big way.

One need not watch Shrewsbury long to see how seriously the team takes every aspect of the game. Sure, the Colonials take pride in fielding ground balls, dropping down bunts, and stealing bases, but the team dedicates an equal amount of time perfecting the off-the-field side of the game. The Colonials did leadership training in the offseason, read a book on teamwork, and engaged in several team-building activities, all in an effort to foster accountability, positivity, and, most importantly, energy.

The emphasis on enthusiasm and teamwork shows: The players hustle off the field after every inning (even the bad ones) and support their teammates with almost-unending clapping and cheering. The sheer amount of high-fives exchanged in the dugout would surprise even the most avid softball watchers. Loud and proud, the Colonials are a “team” in the truest sense of the word.

So, when No. 29 Shrewsbury met the No. 36 Revere Patriots in the preliminary round of the MIAA Division 1 playoffs on Friday afternoon, the Colonials were ready. In a mercy-rule shortened game, Shrewsbury defeated Revere, 15-3, to extend the team’s season. The Colonials will head to No. 4 Lincoln-Sudbury next week.

“We have really high expectations of game-day energy… We did a lot of work on the core values of the program – how do we foster that in order to put us in a competitive zone for the year? Our values come down to commitment, integrity, and family, and those three things really drive the energy… The energy carries inning to inning and it dictates the pace of the game. We really work on that a lot… honestly, as much as the softball stuff,” Shrewsbury Head Coach Jamie Millett said after the game.

The Colonials’ excitement and energy reverberated through their bats. The team sent 41 batters to the plate over the game’s six innings, scored 15 runs, earned 14 hits and drew nine walks. Colonials were on the basepaths from the get-go, as Marin Agbay opened the game with a lead-off double, followed by Maggie Garbarino’s first-inning single.

Agbay, Garbarino and infectious enthusiasm send Shrewsbury softball past Revere
Shrewsbury players high-five one another as they sprint off the field. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

Agbay and Garbarino, who bat first and second in the Colonials’ order, respectively, were an unstoppable force against Revere. After officially graduating from Shrewsbury High School on May 30, Agbay went 4-4 with three singles, the double, and one walk to win her first-ever playoff game as a Shrewsbury Colonial. Garbarino, a sophomore, went 3-4 with three singles.

“It’s a really nice way to end high school, especially since my first year playing we only had two wins the entire season. It was kind of rough. It was really nice for me and [fellow senior Bea Millar] especially to come back at the end of our senior year,” Agbay said. “I feel like today the pitcher was pitching me right where I like to hit the ball.”

“They’ve been producing for us all season. Maggie has a lot of speed, Marin puts the ball in play a lot, so we have a lot of versatility and options at the top of the order. It makes it fun,” Millett told the Community Advocate after the game.

Agbay and Garbarino were seemingly always on the basepaths, and Shrewsbury teammates had no problem registering timely hits and driving runs in. In the first inning, Ava Cotton’s (3-4, 2B, 4RBI) two-out single plated the Colonials’ first two runs. After Shrewsbury hit three straight singles to open the next inning, an RBI triple from McKenna Halloran (2-3) extended the lead.

The scoring just kept coming. After a four-run first and a three-run second, seven consecutive Colonial batters reached base safely to open what would become a five-run fifth inning. The game was officially called in the sixth inning after Millar’s two-run single increased Shrewsbury’s lead to 15-3. The Colonials hadn’t scored that many runs since May 6.

Agbay, Garbarino and infectious enthusiasm send Shrewsbury softball past Revere
Maddie Bentley hurls the ball toward home plate. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

And, according to players, it goes right back to what Millett stresses: keeping the energy up.

“I think we all just showed up, had great energy, and wanted to win. We all wanted to play this next round. I think everyone really brought the energy and we were excited to get on the field,” said Garbarino. “We’re all so close.”

Shrewsbury’s pitching was also strong. Maddie Bentley pitched all six innings for the Colonials, striking out nine batters. Although she surrendered two runs in the second inning – and another run in the sixth – Bentley kept the Patriots off-balance, making adjustments between innings, and pitching several 1-2-3 frames over the course of the game.

“Maddie did a great job today on the mound,” said Millett. “I think she did a good job getting gritty and holding them back.”

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