This week’s Athletes of the Week are two of the most important players on a couple of the best local teams going during the spring season. Newington softball player Cyan Gonzalez and Goodwin Tech baseball player Dave Plourde are this week’s honorees.
The Newington softball team had a minor hiccup last week when it fell to E.O. Smith in a low-scoring affair but overall the team has been outstanding this season. The Indians are 13-2 and have won 13 of their last 14 games as the season winds down.
Sophomore shortstop Gonzalez has played a big part in the team’s success this season as she bats leadoff and plays possibly the most important position on the field effectively.
Through about three-quarters of the season Gonzalez is batting .564 with an on-base percentage of .631. She has also added 16 RBI, four doubles, two triples, two home runs and 15 stolen bases. Beyond the numbers though, the sophomore is the catalyst for an offense that has been prolific.
“I can kind of tell what kind of offensive day we are going to have based on Cy,” starting pitcher and third-place hitter Kat Lagace said. “When she gets on base it gets me and the rest of the team pumped because she can make things happen and I feel like when she does well, the whole offense has a good day.”
Gonzalez’s offensive numbers are off the charts but she may have an equal or even bigger impact on the defensive end. The shortstop leads an excellent defensive team that uses its athleticism and team speed to get to balls that most other teams have no shot at.
“Cyan is a tremendous shortstop,” head coach Steve Markie said. “She has made some errors this year but most of the errors are from her getting to balls that nobody else could and trying to do something spectacular.”
“Having Cy behind me makes me so much more comfortable,” Lagace said. “She is so good at shortstop and really the whole infield defense is good so it allows me to pitch my game.”
Like the Newington softball team, the Goodwin Tech baseball team is among the very best in the area. After losing their season opener to New Britain, the Gladiators reeled off a 12-game winning streak and now has a record of 15-3 as the regular season comes to a close.
Plourde happened to be on the mound for that game against the Hurricanes and although he didn’t have his best performance, he knew right after that game that it would be helpful because New Britain is among the top offensive teams in the state.
“Facing a team that good to start the season shows us what we can do,” said Plourde after taking the loss. “I think from here we will only go higher and higher and I think we will do some great things this season and go very far.”
Since that game Plourde has gone on to have a magnificent senior season as the team’s top starting pitcher and its No. 3 hitter in the lineup. The left-hander is 5-2 as a starter wand has struck out 54 batters in 40 innings. At the plate he is hitting .322 with 15 RBI and 19 runs scored so his impact has been huge.
“I don’t like to look at my stats because it is a team sport,” Plourde said. “I know most people like that stuff but I really don’t like to look at it.”
“He is the ace of our staff,” head coach Joe Granja said. “I love the way he is just a bulldog on the mound. The way he goes, we are going to follow him.
“He has for sure lived up to everything this season. He has five of our 15 wins and he is the senior leader we expect. The composure he has for a high school kid is just amazing."
Last season Goodwin Tech finished the regular season 12-8 which earned it the 17th seed in the Class M tournament. The Gladiators won their first-round game before being ousted in the second round. This season the team has already surpassed that win total and has its sights set on much bigger goals and a huge reason why is the production of Plourde.
“I came into this season with high hopes because everyone looked good and a lot of people were coming back,” Plourde said. “I have done my best to keep my composure and keep everybody’s heads up.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @bigwoolf5