The Tide 18-under softball team, under the direction of former Pope John XXIII High School standout Michele Maiuri, enjoyed a very successful inaugural season in the USA Softball Fall League.
The Tide, who played their home games at Glendale Park, advanced to the playoff finals where they were defeated, 10-2, by the Charlestown Blue Diamonds on Sunday at the Charlestown High field.
Cat Schena, the Tide’s ace pitcher from Saugus, had propelled the Tide to the final, turning in a brilliant effort in a 1-0 win over undefeated, No. 1-seeded Masco Saturday at Glendale.
Two of the Tide’s most outstanding players were Macayla Bessler and Alyssa Bessler, twin sisters and seniors at Everett High School. Macayla was the Tide’s centerfielder while Alyssa was the shortstop.
The Besslers excelled in the heart of the Tide’s batting order, with Macayla hitting third and Alyssa following at cleanup, the prestigious spot usually reserved for a team’s most prolific power hitter.
In addition to their USA Softball experience, the Bessler are also Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) travel teammates. “Macayla and Alyssa both had great seasons,” said Coach Maiuri.
Other players from Everett who made strong contributions to the team’s success were outfielder Olivia Parziale, and shortstop Shani Headley.
All in the Family
Michele Maiuri’s two daughters, Francesca Maiuri, a high school senior, and Gabriella Maiuri, an eighth grader, were members of the first-year Tide contingent. Francesca was the dependable starting first baseman for the Tide. Francesca’s best sport is figure skating, having trained for highest-level junior competitions at the Skating Club of Boston and earned an alternate position on Team USA.
Gabriella was the youngest player on the Tide’s roster, displaying her rising talents as the starting catcher.
Gabrielle had an outstanding year defensively as the batterymate of Cat Schena for every game. She also hit the ball very well against experienced pitchers.
“She was born a catcher – she got it from her mother,” said Michele, who was a four-year starting varsity catcher at Pope John.
Michele Mauiri praised the level of competition in the USA Softball league and the overall organization of Tide’s eight-team division.
“It was nice to put an under-18 team together for the first time,” said Mauiri, who played in the Middle Essex (USA Softball) youth league during her career.
From Pope John Varsity to USA Softball Coaching
Michele Mauiri, who is originally from Everett, is a 1988 graduate of Pope John XXIII High School where she was an All-Star catcher for Sister Nancy Brennan-coached softball teams.
She holds the school record for home runs in a single game. “I think I hit six or seven one game,” said Mauiri, 50, who still plays in softball leagues in Wakefield and Saugus.
Mauiri is now guiding her daughters’ athletic careers, with Francesca preparing for her final varsity softball season this spring and Gabriella poised to begin what projects as a noteworthy high school career.