Connie Grovo ignored the cool temperatures of Maine’s false spring last week. She also didn’t pay much attention to the notion that good pitching dominates women’s softball.
How else does one explain her recent four-game stretch of hitting .733 for St. Joseph’s College, including a walk-off, two-run single? That performance caught the attention of those who select the ECAC New England Division III Player of Week. Grovo became only the third female athlete at St. Joseph’s in nine years to be recognized by the regional organization.
She’s a slender, 5-foot-6, junior second baseman from Limington and a Bonny Eagle High graduate. Softball has always been her favorite sport. March in Maine has not always been her favorite month.
“We opened (the Great Northeast Athletic Conference season) in Connecticut last weekend playing night games under the lights and it was freezing cold,” said Grovo before Wednesday’s practice. “Windy, too. It was almost unbearable. It made our next games back home in daylight seem warm. Anything was going to be better.”
Like most college baseball and softball teams in New England, St. Joseph’s went to Florida in early March. The Monks — picked to win the GNAC softball title again — won eight of the 10 games in the warmth of Fort Myers.
Which made the night games at West Haven, Conn., on their return north seem even colder.
Grovo had 11 hits in 15 at-bats over the next four games back on the St. Joseph’s campus. After 18 games she’s hitting .460 with four doubles, a triple, 14 RBI and seven sacrifices. She’s a three-year starter for Coach Jamie Smyth, but had difficulty getting going last season.
Between seasons, Grovo spent time in batting cages. If pitchers work on their delivery and pitches almost year-round, batters can work on their hitting, too. Although fewer do.
On a relatively small team of 18 players, Grovo is the backup catcher, a position she played throughout her senior year at Bonny Eagle. She doesn’t see her slight size as a negative, should she fill in for iron-woman Heather Tripp (Lovell, Fryeburg Academy), the senior starter.
Grovo drops to her knees to block ground balls at second. She uses the same form to block home plate. Not much gets by her.
St. Joseph’s is 14-4, 6-2 in the conference as it heads into a Friday doubleheader with Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island.
The other two St. Joseph’s athletes to be singled out by the ECAC for weekly recognition? Sophomore Amber Dostie (Standish, Bonny Eagle) in cross country and sophomore Danielle Daigle (Dayton, Thornton Academy) in soccer, making it three in the same school year.
Hockey players Tim McGarry (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Daniel Weiniger (Warren, N.J.) were first team All-NESCAC picks this week. McGarry was also named an American Hockey Coaches Association third-team All-American. Ollie Koo was named to the NESCAC second team. The team finished its season with a loss in the NCAA Division quarterfinals. Its 23 victories was the most for a Terry Meagher-coached team.
Meanwhile, women’s hockey coach Marissa O’Neill was named conference Coach of the Year. Players Kayte Holte (New Berlin, Wis.) and Kayla Lessard (Enfield, Conn.) were all-conference selections as was Rachel Kennedy (Trumbull, Conn.), the only freshman recognized. She was named Rookie of the Year, giving her a unique double. She was Rookie of the Year in field hockey, too.
Carolyn Gorajek (Hightstown, N.J.) scored four goals to break a school record in Sunday’s 9-6 win over Williams in women’s lacrosse. The four goals gave Gorajek a total of 147, breaking the record of 145 set by Jill Bermingham (South Londonderry, Vt.) in 1986.
Bermingham held school records in soccer, hockey and lacrosse and is considered Bowdoin’s most versatile athlete. She graduated with a double major in government and environmental studies.
Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at: