Derek Asadoorian is entering his 14th season at the helm of the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders softball team. In 2014 his team went 10-10 in the regular season and made the MIAA Division 1 Central tournament for the first time in just their second year at the D1 level, before falling to Shrewsbury in the first round. Now he faces the unique challenge of coaching a team with zero seniors.
The Crusaders return five starters – junior captain and second baseman Laura Bieren, junior shortstop Rose O’Malley, junior outfielder Emily Figueroa, junior first baseman Caroline Thompson, and sophomore outfielder Bridget O’Malley. They will also enjoy the services of junior pitcher Sarah Woods, who transferred from Littleton this year. Woods was a two-year starter for the Tigers and led them to back-to-back appearances in the D3 Central tournament.
Bieren and the O’Malleys (no relation) lead the offense among returning players. Bieren was second on the team in batting average last year (.328), while Bridget tied for second on the team in RBI with 13 to go along with four doubles, and Rose had five doubles and 11 RBI. Both Bridget and Rose had a .297 batting average last year.
Newcomers to the team include catchers Lizzie Faubel and Lauren Thorburn, outfielders Emma Grondolsky and Charlotte McCarthy (So. OF), infielders Katie Schlepphorst and Jen Thorburn, and utility players Sophie Bobzien and, Caitlin Trout.
Asadoorian says that his team is very coachable, they put in great effort, and they have a core nucleus returning. But as mentioned before, there are no seniors, and he says “leadership will be the most important area to improve for us.”