Bennett Sisters Key Cogs for KP’s Softball Team
Mia Bennett, left, and her sister Jordan, had outstanding seasons for King Phillip’s softball team.
By Ken Hamwey
Staff Sports Writer
The King Philip softball team gets high marks for its achievements during the 2022 spring campaign.
Coach Kate Fallon’s squad rolled to a 20-2 regular-season record and won the Hockomock League’s Kelly-Rex Division championship. Seeded second in the Division 1 state tourney, the Warriors blanked Lynn Classical, 15-0, in their opener, then edged St. Paul’s, 6-4. KP’s playoff run, however, ended in the third round where it lost to Methuen, 4-3.
When all the results were in, the Warriors won all their Hockomock League games and lost only three times — bowing to non-league Bishop Feehan and Billerica in the regular season, then losing to Methuen in the tourney. KP’s overall record was 22-3.
The Warriors had all the attributes for success but they also had a sister combination that played a major role at two key positions.
Senior tri-captain Mia Bennett competed efficiently at shortstop and her younger sister, Jordan, a sophomore pitcher, was dynamic in the circle. During the regular season, Mia hit .300, had 11 RBIs and scored 12 runs. Jordan compiled a 10-2 record, struck out 89, and had an earned-run average of 1.36.
Here’s how Fallon regards the sisters: “Mia provided us with solid leadership in the infield. She finds a way to get on base or get the hit we need in a certain situation. Normally a second baseman, Mia transitioned to shortstop and worked hard every practice on that move. Mia is not only the big sister to Jordan, but the ‘big sister’ to many girls on the team.
“Jordan was in her second year as a starting pitcher for us. Her strength is her ability to mix speeds and locations, as well as her calm demeanor in the circle. Not much fazes her, and she battles her way through tough games.’’
Following is a profile of the sisters, who discuss a variety of topics and the successful season they experienced:
The 18-year-old Plainville native has the passion and the key attributes to excel at shortstop and at the plate.
Relying on mental toughness, a high softball IQ and athleticism, Mia displayed terrific range at shortstop and was aggressive diving or attacking the ball. At the plate, she’d swing at the first pitch if it was appealing or change gears and be selective.
“I love playing shortstop,’’ she emphasized. “There’s a lot of responsibility there. You have to be in the game mentally and also be instinctive, always thinking ahead.’’
A captain, Mia not only led by example, but she earned the respect of her teammates by focusing on other avenues. “I was vocal at times but I also tried to be supportive of all the players,’’ she noted. “I aimed to earn the trust of everyone.’’
A Hockomock League all-star as a junior, Mia’s team goals at the start of the season were to win the Kelly-Rex Division title, qualify for the tourney and go as deep as possible. “I felt we could be in the mix to win the state championship,’’ Mia said. “We had an amazing season but all good things must come to an end at some point. However, we achieved most of our team goals. My personal objectives were to get timely hits, bat around .300 and be the best leader I could be.’’
All of the boxes for her individual goals get checkmarks. And, two other checkmarks are important. Mia wanted to beat Taunton twice, especially after last year when their arch-rival defeated KP three times.
“We downed Taunton both times this year,’’ Mia said. “Those two games were my best. In the first game I played well in the field, got a key bunt to advance the runners, and managed a single. I also felt my leadership was helpful in both games.’’
As for her top thrills, Mia listed being named a captain and helping the team win the division title. She also was pleased to be a Hockomock all-star. “I didn’t expect the all-star honor but my teammates and coaches deserve the credit for that,’’ she offered.
Mia was effusive in her praise for KP’s other captains and also for her coach. KP’s other captains were seniors Emma Sheehan (pitcher) and Margaret Sherwood (left fielder).
“Emma was excellent as a pitcher,’’ Mia said. “Her control was outstanding. Margaret was solid in the field and hit for power (four home runs). Coach Fallon also deserves credit for our success. She’s a great motivator and she’s a good strategist. She cares about her players and she’s able to adjust and be flexible.’’
A two-time National Honor Society member, Mia’s GPA was 4.25. She’ll be attending Salve Regina in the fall and major in psychology and criminal justice. She intends to play softball.
“Salve’s coach is Shawna Mulkerin who recruited me,’’ Mia revealed. “I was one of her first recruits since she’s coached at Salve for only a year. She’s optimistic I can play shortstop at the college level.’’
Relying on an athletic philosophy of reaching her potential and enjoying competitive sports, Mia says “if those things occur, then winning will follow.’’ Valuable life lessons she’s learned in softball and also in one year of basketball include “overcoming adversity, being resilient, striving to be a quality leader and becoming an improved public speaker.’’
Mia calls her club coach (Maggie Quealy) her role model. “She was my coach early on during my 10 years at that level,” Mia said. “She was very helpful to me and was like an older sister.’’
Also a Plainville native, Jordan, at age 15, has become one of the Hockomock League’s top-notch pitchers.
A right-hander, she’s added a drop and riser to an assortment that includes an effective change-up, a fastball, curve and screw ball. Jordan is passionate about pitching.
“I like pitching because you’re involved in a lot of the action,’’ she said. “You control the tempo of the game and it’s very challenging. But, I don’t really feel any pressure and I’m very comfortable in that role.’’
Possessing some of her sister’s attributes, Jordan works fast in the circle and her control and assortment are a plus. “I’ve learned to stay calm when I’m pitching,’’ she said. “I like to think that I’m athletic, mentally tough, and am a high IQ player who’s very determined.’’
Jordan’s goals at the start of the season mirror her sister’s objectives — win the Kelly-Rex title, qualify for the tourney and advance as far as possible. “My individual goals were to improve on my record from last year, add new pitches, and aim for another all-star berth,’’ she noted. “I had a seven-win season and surpassed that this year, and I added two new pitches. I was a league all-star last year and would like to repeat that.’’
When Jordan faced arch-rival Taunton in KP’s second meeting with the Tigers this year, that contest turned out to be her “best game.’’
“I pitched 10 innings and got the win in a game we won by two runs,’’ she recalled. “My control was good and it was nice to rally in the seventh inning and eventually defeat them.’’
Jordan’s top thrill so far in her two-year varsity career was helping the Warriors win the Kelly-Rex title. “It was a good feeling to be a division champion and it provided us with some momentum for the playoffs,’’ she said.
Calling her catcher (sophomore Maddie Paschke) “an excellent contributor who helped us to be successful,’’ Jordan also includes her coach for much of KP’s emergence.
“Maddie is really good at maintaining control of a game,’’ Jordan said. “She calls a smart game and knows what preference her pitchers have. She got timely hits and drove in her share of runs. Coach Fallon is so knowledgeable and competitive. She cares about her players and she’s an excellent motivator.’’
A good student, Jordan, who also is a point guard in basketball, hopes to play softball in college. So far, she hasn’t decided on a collegiate venue or a major.
Calling her parents (Claudia and Jason) role models because of their support and encouragement, Jordan has the same athletic philosophy as her sister — she focuses on reaching her potential and having fun. “That combination usually leads to winning,’’ she emphasized. “And, the life lessons I’ve learned from sports include mental toughness, sportsmanship, leadership and how to be a good teammate.’’
The loss in the tourney was disappointing but Jordan liked the way KP competed and the way the team stayed together. “It was a tough game, we battled till the end, but we came up short against a really good team,” she said.
What makes Mia and Jordan a top-notch duo is the absence of a sibling rivalry. Their coach is quick to emphasize what makes the sisters tick.
“The girls have a great relationship, always cheering for each other, and they fully support each other’s needs,’’ Fallon noted.