Local Athletes Excelling in College

South Windsor native Allyson Fournier won NESCAC Pitcher of the Week honors to open the 2014 softball season at Tufts University.

Fournier, a first team All-American in each of her first two seasons, was selected as NESCAC Pitcher of the Week for the eighth time in her career.

Much as she was on the 2013 Tufts team that won the NCAA championship last spring, and on the 2012 Tufts team that played in the NCAA Championship final eight, Fournier was a leading performer when the Jumbo softball team went 12-1 on its spring break trip to Florida in March.

Fournier started her junior season stronger than ever, striking out 100 batters and allowing just 15 hits and four runs (0.62) while posting a 7-0 record in 45 innings. She pitched a no-hitter against Bethel on March 21, the eighth of her Jumbo career. The day before she had hurled four no-hit innings of relief when Tufts defeated rival Babson 5-1 in 11 innings on March 20. On March 19 against Plymouth State, the reigning Honda D-III Athlete of the Year got 19 of 21 outs by strikeout. She walked just five batters during the week.

*Eastern Connecticut State University junior infielder Corey Keane, of Tolland, has recovered from an early-season injury to assume the team batting lead through the first 11 games of the season. A second-year transfer from Newbury College, Keane has started all eight of the games in which he has appeared at second base and designated hitter after seeing limited action in his first season in 2013.

Batting in the middle of the order, he is hitting .400 (12-for-30) with 18 total bases, a .600 slugging percentage, .471 on-base percentage and three stolen bases and has handled 25 chances in the field without an error. He has hit safely in six of eight games and shares the team lead with five multiple-hit games.

“Corey was our best hitter until his injury (hamstring) and it meant a lot to us to have his bat back in the lineup,” noted first-year head coach Matt LaBranche of Keane, who returned in time for the home-opener against UMass Boston after missing the final three games in Florida. “Corey was not an everyday player last year, but he’s come out swinging the bat this year. He’s a confident and competitive player who is making hard contact.”

*Assumption College women’s lacrosse freshman midfielder Tori Russo, of South Windsor, has been named as the Northeast-10 Conference Rookie of the Week for her play in a pair of Assumption victories.

In a 2-0 week, Russo posted nine points with seven goals and two assists for the Hounds. After three goals and an assist in a home win over Southern Connecticut, Russo capped the week with four goals, one assist, one ground ball and one caused turnovers in a home win over Franklin Pierce.

*Eastern Connecticut State University junior Meg Eremita, of South Windsor, has moved into a regular role at low attack this season, having scored her first four goals of the season in a loss to Bridgewater State University and a Little East Conference opening win over Rhode Island College. A freshman transfer from Division II St. Leo, Eremita has a point as a starter in four of the last five matches. Against Rhode Island, she scored twice in the first eight minutes to help the Warriors to an early 3-1 lead on the way to a 13-2 triumph at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

Head Coach Christine Hutchison on Meg: “Meg has grown a lot this year. She has gotten out of her comfort zone and has been more than a feeder. She’s driving to the cage and looking for cutters. She’s starting to score more, which is what we will need this year and next.”

All photos and information are courtesy of the schools’ and universities’ athletic departments. Do you know a former scholastic athlete now competing at the collegiate level? If so, e-mail Erin Quinlan at erinq@thesportsdept.com

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