By Dave Ricci firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — It’s safe to say that Bridget Gormley is in the zone. And it doesn’t seem like she’ll be slowing down any time soon.
Gormley, a senior, and her Lady Blue Devils teammates will do their best to keep their sectional title dreams alive when No. 5 Kenmore West travels to No. 4 Niagara Wheatfield today for their Section VI Class AA semifinal match up.
Coming off of a quarterfinal win over North Tonawanda on Tuesday, the Blue Devils will be riding a wave of momentum that has been inspired by Gormley’s slick fielding and timely power-hitting.
“I think my confidence has gone up, for sure. Just through all of the extra practices that we’ve been (doing) with hitting,” Gormley said.
Gormley, the Blue Devils’ starting left fielder as a junior, was shifted to center field this season.
Ken West coach Matt Chimera knew that Gormley had the speed and defensive skills to excel in center field. His hope was that Gormley could bring a little more offensive pop to the line up. Chimera got his wish, and then some.
Though Gormley sports the classic build of a slap-hitting speedster, in recent weeks she has also brought a powerful swing as she hit three home runs in back to back home games in the final week of the regular season.
Gormley blasted a three-run home run to left field in Ken West’s win over Lew-Port on May 13. Then performed an encore with a pair of home runs the following day in a loss to Niagara Falls.
“As the leadoff batter I’m usually just bunting and trying to get on,” Gormley said. “I guess I’ve just been getting extra-base hits and it’s been great.”
Faced with a nice problem of a top of the order hitter driving the ball deep, Chimera said that utilizing Gormley’s speed is still a prime objective. But the way Bridget has been hitting Chimera said she has the green light to swing away.
For Gormley, well, it’s just satisfying to be able to help the team in more ways than one.
“Absolutely,” Gormley said. “I like to be able to not just get on base, but be able to hit runners in. It’s a great feeling.”
But that great feeling Gormley is experiencing almost didn’t happen.
While Gormley’s results are without question the result of hard work and her desire to get better, the catalyst for Gormley’s impact can be traced to a phone call she made to Chimera about two years ago.
“Two years ago she started for us as a sophomore, and at the end of her sophomore year she decided that she wasn’t going to play softball,” Chimera said. “She wanted to focus on soccer, and I understood that. She talked to me about it.
“Then in the off season, it was probably right after the end of the soccer season, in November, she called me and asked is it too late to change her mind? I said of course not. That was one of the best calls. ... I was thrilled about that and the last two years it’s been great to have her.”
Happy that she stayed with the softball program, Gormley explained why she changed her mind about walking away.
“I guess when the season comes around I just get that feeling and I can’t not play,” Gormley said. “I would miss it too much.”