Portsmouth softball team keeps on winning ways

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PORTSMOUTH — Some of the Portsmouth Middle School's softball team's game scores resemble football matches more than anything else: 18-0, 18-1, 15-4, 15-7.

In one three-game span a few weeks ago the team scored a combined 39 runs, leaving their opponents in the dust. The team's only blemish — it finished its regular season Tuesday with an 11-1 record — is a one-run loss against Riverside on May 13.

As for their recipe for success, coach Caitlin Poplawski ("Coach Cate") gives all the credit to her players.

"I'm amazed by them every day," said Ms. Poplawski, who's in her second year of coaching the team. "They are dominating in our division. It blows my mind how well they know the game as middle-schoolers — sixth, seventh and eighth grade."

One of the team's standout players is Emma Campbell, who pitched a no-hitter earlier this year and has been racking up strikeouts every time she takes the mound, including 14 Ks in an 8-3 win over St. Teresa Friday.

A no-hitter "at this level is pretty unusual," said Ms. Poplawski. "Usually there's always a blooper that goes by someone and they drop if or something like that."

Emma's just getting started, too.

"Emma's only in sixth grade and she's phenomenal," said the coach. "She can play any position in the field. She's a great pitcher, she can play outfield. A lot of these girls can play any position."

The team ended its regular season Tuesday with a 15-4 win over Kickemuit. The win clinched a number-one seed in the division going into the playoffs, which begin Tuesday.

Megan Lacy went four for five with three RBIs. Jillian Whiteside played great in right field and Katie McGowan was stellar at second base.

In the home game against St. Teresa Friday, Kelly Conley went three for five and Ailish Cafferty played well for Portsmouth.

On May 15, the team beat Gaudet, 18-1.

Lian Bishop pitched a great game, allowing only one run and no walks. Taylor Cofield hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning to put Portsmouth up by seven runs. Jillian Whiteside hit well for Portsmouth.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.