Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

June 20, 2013

McNaughton filled the bill for AHS softball

The Sporting Scene
Bill Burt

---- — It was not an easy season for Andover High softball coach Steve Tisbert and his Warriors team. It finished 6-14.

But the season wasn’t as bad when you consider Andover lost its first seven games of the season.

One of the highlights, according to Tisbert, was his new pitcher this season, junior Laura McNaughton.

Andover lost its starting pitcher, who transferred to a private school, and turned to McNaughton, who had only started pitching as a freshman.

“We really looked to Laura to lead our team from the mound,” Tisbert said. “She pitched admirably all year and with a little more timely hitting by our team she would have pitched us into the tournament.

“Laura is an exceptional competitor and became the backbone for our team.”

Along with softball, McNaughton also plays soccer at the high school and is a member of the dance team.

Oh yes, she’s also a high honor student and was recently selected to be one of next year’s captains.

“A pleasure to coach,” Tisbert said.

Andover turned to Paige on the courts

We don’t give out official Unsung Awards for our high school athletes, but if we did, Andover High sophomore Paige Webster would be a worthy candidate.

Being underrated and/or unsung on an Andover High tennis team is easy. There are three kids of players: Great, very good and good.

Webster finished 10-0 in Merrimack Valley Conference play and was 15-1 on the year, which earned her MVC All-Star recognition, barely missing out on an All-Conference honor.

“She’s most mentally the toughest player on our team,” coach Alan Hibino said. “She always came to practice with energy and enthusiasm. She was one of our hardest workers and showed great integrity, maturity and respect on and off the court.”

Webster is an honor roll student and member of the ski team. And she was also on the AHS Sophomore Class Board of Directors.

“Her biggest win of the year was a three-set win clinching a victory over Lincoln-Sudbury, which ultimately made it all the way to the D1 North Finals,” Hibino said. “And she atoned for her only loss on the year earlier in the season against Lincoln-Sudbury, in which she lost 12-10 in a third-set tiebreaker. She really had a great year and is a pleasure to coach.”

Yaz gets some R&R before reporting

Baltimore Orioles general manager Dan Duquette had some nice things to say about his 14th-round draft pick, Michael Yastrzemski, of Andover via Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Duquette said that the youngest “Yaz” was not a charity pick — Michael’s father (Mike) and grandfather (Hall of Famer Carl) both worked under the ex-Red Sox GM in the 1990s.

Because of his long season, in which nationally ranked Vanderbilt was eliminated recently in the NCAA Div. 1 Super Regional, Duquette told Michael to take some time off before signing and reporting to the Orioles short-season “A” team in Aberdeen, Md.

“I needed a little break,” said Michael, who graduated from St. John’s Prep in Danvers in 2009. “So I came up here (to Seabrook, N.H.) to the beach for a little bit. But I’ll be back later in the week to hit a little bit and then go to Aberdeen.”

By the way, Michael’s Aberdeen team will come to Lowell to play the Spinners from Aug. 26 through 28. We expect a lot of Yaz fans there that night.

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Bill Burt is executive sports editor of The Eagle-Tribune. If you have any sports tidbits you’d like to get in, email him at bburt@eagletribune.com.