WILMINGTON, MA — This is the first in a series of profiles celebrating the five recent WHS graduates who played on this year’s varsity softball team.
When Dana Goulet was 5-years old tagging along with her big brother to summer baseball camp her favorite part was slip-n-slide Friday’s. Elite college players from around the country were there to play in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League by night, but by day they earned their keep running youth camps. Who would have thought that the Buster Posey who gave her piggy back rides during the summer would someday become MLB’s Rookie of the Year and win a World Series or two for the San Francisco Giants?
When Dana was 8-years old she joined her very first softball team, the Blizzards playing for the first time with one of her favorite future high school teammates, Jen Dovidio. Several years later, Dana joined the summer tournament program that Billy Norman started, and played with even more favorite futures: Shannon Horgan, Antonia Kieran and Liz Gordon. Summer league is where Dana’s defensive game developed, including some noteworthy plays like a Willie-Mays-over-the-shoulder-type catch at 3rd base during a Chelmsford tournament. Another was during a game against a Connecticut-based travelling all-star team. Dana was catcher and the team was losing badly when in a late inning a batter hit a ball high and straight up above the plate. Since Dana tended not to flip her mask off for defensive plays she didn’t see where the ball went. By the time she found it there wasn’t enough time to get her glove in place, so instead she barehanded the catch, drawing the first smile of the game from Coach Billy!
Although primarily a catcher and outfielder during her early years, when Dana joined the high school’s varsity team she started a four-year run in the infield. Coaches Audrey Cabral-Pini and Walter Babcock showed early confidence in Dana by starting her every game as a freshman. By sophomore year Dana had joined the .300 Club and was voted Middlesex League All-Star. A junior year highlight was her first homerun and as a senior, Dana was still starting every game and was once again voted a Middlesex League All-Star. In addition, Dana was always good for at least one acrobatic highlight defensive play each year. Dana always looked forward to softball season – the coaches, camaraderie and competition were a unique combination unlike all of her other high school sports. As a senior Dana was a co-captain with the same three classmates she had started with as a freshman: Antonia who was a sure-fire target with a great stretch at 1st base, Liz who was a double-play partner at 2nd, and Adele Burton who covered the hot corner at 3rd base. During four straight years they helped the Lady Wildcats make the playoffs, always as an underdog and always in a tough bracket.
Beginning when she was in middle school, Coach Walter had often asked Dana about playing club softball, but there was never time to fit it in with her other sports and commitments so, although she loved the game, Dana figured she would never have a shot at playing in college. Still, during the initial interview with her Bentley University soccer coach, Lauren Lukis she inquired if it was an option. Dana was pleasantly surprised that Coach Lukis was supportive so later that summer she signed up for an ID softball camp to see how she stacked up. Coach Walter dug Dana’s Wilmington uniform out of storage since she didn’t have one and she attended the clinic with very low expectations. She was happy to see a friendly face at the clinic, longtime friend and Austin Prep pitching phenom Logan MacDonald who will be playing at Babson College. Dana returned from the camp with hope that, with more off-season preparation and practice, playing softball in college just might be a possibility. The deal was sealed nearly one year later when, during a Memorial Day game against Wakefield the Bentley softball coach, Terry Prouty watched Dana have a clean defensive game and hit two home runs which led to a roster spot offer on Bentley’s team.
In many thanks to Coaches Audrey, Walter and Billy, Dana is thrilled to be a two-sport athlete at Bentley next year and her family is looking forward to four more years of softball!
(NOTE: The above profile is from Wilmington Little League.)
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