For many years, the town of Cheshire has had softball players excel in the youth, high school, and adult ranks. This summer, a collection of youngsters came together to start a new tradition.
For the first time, Cheshire Youth Softball participated in Little League and also created an 12-U Majors Division All-Star team called Cheshire Junior Rams.
“In having coached in the Cheshire Flames program for awhile, I thought that this was a great time to put together a 12-U Majors Division All-Star group and then pass it down for future years,” said Jay Miramant, who coached the Junior Rams with Keith Fleming. “In speaking with (Head) Coach (Kristine) Drust at Cheshire High School, she wanted to grow the sport starting with the T-Ball level.”
For the program, CYS had two teams play 10 inter-league games. From there, a group of coaches picked players to compete for the inaugural All-Star squad.
“You had to play eight of 10 games to be eligible,” stated Miramant. “We had a lot of great players to choose from this year.”
Starting on June 21, the Junior Rams went 9-1 in the regular season to qualify for the District 4 playoffs.
“I like the friendships that we’ve made this year,” said Avery Radford.
The team beat Amity (16-4) and North Branford (13-3) to reach the finals against host Milford at Brewster Field. Beating North Branford was a key victory after the team lost to that squad earlier in the season.
“We put together a team later than a lot of other towns did,” stated Coach Miramant. “You could see the girls getting better throughout the season. They are great people on and off the field.”
For the title game on July 6, a storm caused play to be suspended with the score tied at 2-2, but when action picked up the next day, Milford broke through to win 8-2 and win the crown for the third year in a row.
“It felt good to make it here (the finals) in our first year,” said Kaitlin Spring.
Radford (.550), Ava Pearson (.500), Avery Miramant (.357), Lyla Dykeman (.333), and Molly Fleming (.333) were the top hitters this season.
“The girls all complemented each other very well at the plate,” reflected Miramant. “I think we did a great job of playing small ball at important parts of games. That wasn’t something that the girls were used to, but did everything that we asked of them.”
Spring and Radford anchored the pitching staff.
“Our pitchers came from two different organizations. They are part of great families and both have strong futures in softball,” said Miramant. “Molly (Fleming) did a great job of catching the pitchers, who she hadn’t worked with before. The pitcher-catcher relationship usually takes time to develop, but you could see the willingness to build on that in a short amount of time.”
The coaches credit the CHS program for helping build interest in local softball. Drust and Assistant Jaymie Sommers have coached the Rams the since 2014.
“We had 150 girls sign up for recreational softball this year and that is the most we have ever had,” said Coach Miramant. “Coach Drust, her staff, and players give back so much to softball in this town.”
Pearson’s older sister Bri co-captained the CHS Rams as a junior and senior pitcher. After being a four-year starter, Bri will play softball at Adelphi University in New York.
Spring’s older sister Karissa just finished her sophomore season as a pitcher and infielder at CHS.
“Our girls look up to the Rams players on and off the field,” stated Coach Miramant.
Next year, the majority of the Junior Rams will move on to the 14-U level. Miramant is excited to pass the All-Star opportunity to a new group next year.
“There are some great players and families in that (11-U) division,” stated Coach Miramant.