Rampage win state title

July 22, 2010
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The Revere Rampage, a 10-under girls softball all-star team representing the St. Mary’s Babe Ruth Softball League, are writing their own summer success story.

The Rampage are riding high after winning the Massachusetts state championship July 11 in Plymouth. Revere won all four of its games in the seven-team, double-elimination tournament: 10-7 over Kingston; 14-4 over Raynham; 8-1 over Halifax; and 12-11 over Kingston in the final.

Vanessa Puopolo scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning to give Revere the state championship. Puopolo bunted for a single, stole second and third base, and then raced home on a wild pitch.

“When the ball went past home plate, I stole home,” said Puopolo, whose twin sister, Victoria, also plays for the Rampage. “Everyone on the team came up to me and it felt really good to be state champions. We have great coaches and my teammates are awesome.”

The pitching was outstanding for the Revere contingent. Ace pitching Mia Nowicki has a good fastball and deceptive changeup and is adding other pitches to her repertoire. Talented pitcher Victoria Puopolo came through with a huge effort in the state final while Olivia McManus, Danielle Dacey, and Tia Fichera are other capable members of the Rampage’s deep staff.

Mia Nowicki also had a phenomenal showing at the plate in the state tournament, collecting 10 hits in 11 at-bats. Alina Giuliano, the starting catcher, had some key base hits. Each player on the team had at least one hit while also excelling in “small ball” with timely bunting and base running prowess.

The head coach of the Rampage is Paul Nowicki, a former All-Scholastic athlete at Matignon High School whose home run hitting was so feared on a baseball field in his hometown Chelsea youth league that they used to walk him intentionally – with the bases loaded.

Nowicki is being assisted by coaches Robert Robinson, Andrew Lauria, and Richard McManus.

Nowicki is proud of how the girls have adapted so well to tournament-caliber softball.

“When we started, only three of our players had played tournament softball,” said Nowicki. “So initially we took some lumps at an ASA tournament in North Reading. But it showed the girls the work we needed to do to improve and we beat AAU teams from New Hampshire and Swansea. It was an impressive turnaround and the coaches felt that we could really compete in the States. We have a lot of good athletes on this team.”

Andrew Lauria, a Revere Police officer, said the girls are improving their softball skills every day.

“From the beginning, at every practice, every tournament, and every game that we’ve been in, the girls have gotten better,” said Lauria. “They’re listening to the coaching, and they’re more confident and more relaxed and when they play and have fun – the results are there, they win. We’re trying to instill in our players that this is a game that’s fun and if you play it right, you have a lot of fun, win or lose. They’ve been putting in the hard work and and having fun, and the result has been that we’re winning. That’s what we’re going to push for in our next tournament and in the regionals.”

As a result of winning the state championship, Revere has earned a berth in the New England Regionals that will begin July 31 in Springfield. The top teams in New England will vie for the title.

“We’ll probably have a pizza pool party the night before the tournament,” said Nowicki. “And then we’ll see how we match up against the best teams in New England.”

One thing for sure: the Revere Rampage will have fun doing it.

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