New Britain Herald Athletes of the Week are New Britain's Makaila Masterson and Newington's Jack Kelley

Published on Monday, 21 May 2018 20:57
Written by SHELBY IAVA

@shelbyiavaNB

Over the last week, Newington baseball’s Jack Kelley and New Britain softball’s Makaila Masterson both helped their respective teams earn victories.

This past season hasn’t been the best for Masterson, after she transferred to New Britain High School. But Thursday afternoon during the Hurricanes’ senior night game against Wethersfield, Masterson finally got out of her slump. The junior went 2-for-3 at the plate, driving in five runs and hitting two home runs.

“We were all pumped up,” Masterson said. “I just wanted to do my job and get the win, especially for those who are seniors. This hasn’t been my best season, especially in the middle of the season, but those hits definitely helped me out.”

New Britain head coach Joel Simmone had been waiting for that moment for Masterson all season long.

“She has the quickest hand I’ve ever seen,” Simmone said. “And when she’s in the cage, she’s breaking buckets. She hit two tremendous home runs on Thursday. She’s a sweet, sweet girl, but deadly with a bat.”

Since the first day of practice this season, Simmone knew he had a special group of girls. For the first time, the Hurricanes competed for the CCC North Colonial Division title Monday evening.

“This group is real special,” Simmone said. “There’s no drama, and Masterson fits in perfectly. There are a lot of special things happening with this team.”

Newington was led by a strong performance from the mound by Jack Kelley on Wednesday afternoon, in a 9-1 victory over Goodwin Tech.

The right-hander went six innings and gave up just one run and four hits, while striking out six Gladiators.

Although the game ended well for Kelley, it didn’t start off that way.

“It wasn’t really the start I wanted or anyone on the team wanted,” Kelley said. “I gave up the solo shot in the first inning, putting us in an early hole.”

Other than that one bad pitch, Kelley and the Indians cruised through the rest of the game.

“I threw strikes and when Goodwin Tech hit the ball, our defense was there to make the play,” Kelley said. “It makes my job easier knowing that I have a great defense behind me making the plays. I felt like my off-speed was keeping them off balance, making them roll over. As a team we played great all around.”

Newington is in the midst of a hot streak, winning its last five games. With just one more left in the regular season, the Indians have their eyes on something quite large - the state title.

“We need to stay hot and want to finish the season on top,” Kelley said. “We’ve put in a lot of hard work and I don’t want our season to end a week from now. When I’m on the mound, I don’t want to give up a run from here on out. If I can do that, all we need is a run and we’re on to the next round. I think each start I’ve gotten better and over the past few games as a team we’ve gotten better.”

“I would love to finish my junior year with both the conference and state titles for our team,” he added. “It would be great to have that energy flow into the summer on my summer team and ultimately, after next year, play in college.”

Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or siava@newbritainherald.com



Posted in New Britain Herald, Athletes of the Week, New Britain, Newington on Monday, 21 May 2018 20:57. Updated: Monday, 21 May 2018 21:01.