Raiders’ softball team chases winning record

Raiders’ softball team chases winning record

Shea starting pitcher Ashley Torres gets ready to fire a pitch to the plate during last week’s Division III game against Tiverton at Max Read Field. Torres also belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning that was her third home run in as many games. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
New coach hopes Shea can reach D-III playoffs

PAWTUCKET – The program’s fourth head coach in as many years, Steve Cooper hopes to be the Shea High softball team’s good-luck charm and stick it out for the long run.

Under Cooper, the Raiders not only have a winning record in Division III, a 5-4 mark with four regular-season games remaining, but they have already achieved one of their goals.

“My goal was to have more wins than we did last year,” Cooper noted. “We only had three wins last year (and two in 2016) and we have five now. My far-reach goal is to make the playoffs, and we’re trying.”

He also said that he told the athletic director, Kate Corry, that he wants to remain the head coach and come back next year. A constant has been assistant coach Lyndsay Gray, and also joining the staff and helping out is former Shea head coach and Tolman assistant Mark Matook.

As for his team’s success?

“I think the majority of the credit goes to the girls,” Cooper said. “They’re working hard and doing what I’m asking. We’re in a tough division, and we have some teams that are really strong, while we also have some weak teams. But we try to make it work.”

Shea faced a tough opponent in Tiverton last Thursday afternoon at Max Read Field and fell behind quickly, giving up five runs in the first before suffering a 21-5 loss. The Tigers entered this week with a 7-2 record that was good for third place behind Exeter/West Greenwich (9-0) and Block Island (8-1).

“No one can touch them,” Cooper said about Exeter/West Greenwich before his game against the Tigers. “They’re good from top to bottom. And Block Island and Tiverton are pretty good. Block Island’s only loss was to Exeter/West Greenwich.”

Junior tri-captain Ashley Torres is the Raiders’ number one pitcher, and she’s also having a solid season offensively. Against Tiverton, she belted a two-run homer over the left-field fence in the first inning that was her third home run in as many games.

The Raiders’ other two captains are sophomore catcher Mishayla Culhane and junior shortstop Antonette Cooper. Culhane is a transfer from Attleboro, and so far, has stood out defensively for the Raiders, Cooper said.

The Raiders have 11 returning players from last year with four seniors.

Shea will not play against until Tuesday, May 22, when the Raiders take on neighboring Central Falls. Before that game, the Raiders had contests against Block Island and Central, and they will wrap up their regular season by hosting Classical.

Shea sophomore Mishayla Culhane socks an RBI double to left field in the bottom of the first inning of last week’s Division III game against Tiverton at Max Read Field. Culhane is one of the captains on this season’s team.