2011-04-07 / News

Softball standout succeeds in center field and in the classroom

By Geoff Campbell

Katie Marquis Katie Marquis Katie Marquis readily admits that one of her favorite things to do is dive for fly balls while playing center field for the North Kingstown High School girls’ varsity softball team.

Her coach is Adam Laliberte, a Spanish teacher who was the assistant coach for four years and is now in his first year as head coach.

“[She] will be our starting center fielder this upcoming season,” Laliberte said. The season started on March 26. “She is an outstanding defensive outfielder and her hitting abilities have improved over the last few years.”

Evidence of her improvement is in Marquis’ ascension in the lineup. She said that she used to bat in the ninth spot in the batting order and has since seen more time in the six-spot.

A self-described team player, Marquis’ coach agrees: “Marquis is the player that every coach loves to have on their team,” he said. “Hard working, coachable and the consummate team player.”

Marquis’ high school career began on the junior-varsity squad and in left field. Joining the varsity team as a junior, Marquis earned some valuable playoff experience in the Skippers’ 2010 campaign. Marquis pointed out that the Skippers, the reigning 2010 Division I South winners, have finished third in the state for the past three years.

Expectations for the season are high according to Marquis and her coach. Wanting to finish in the top spot, Marquis said that Coventry, Cumberland and Mount Saint Charles are the Skippers’ strongest challengers.

Laliberte explained the team’s number one charge: “Our overall goal is to make the state championship and I believe that we have the ability to do that,” he said. “I expect them to be exactly where they want to get to by the end of the season.”

Halfway through her junior year, following a defensive line-up change, Marquis became a starter. She has started ever since.

Marquis said that the team “has some great talent this year,” including five additional seniors: catcher Olivia Donahue, first baseman Emily Lipsitz, right fielder Rea Whiteley, shortstop Maddie Grimaldi and third baseman Molly Clark, who are all from North Kingstown.

“The group that we have on the varsity level this year comes to work every day,” Laliberte said. “They have great attitudes and are very coachable; it really is a special group.”

There are no other Jamestowners on the varsity team but Melissa Bothelo, Allison Bew and Faith Chadwick are Jamestowners playing junior varsity.

Preparation for the season begins with captains’ practices, which start at the beginning of March. Practices included hitting in the batting cage on Tuesdays and workouts on Thursdays.

“I am playing [on the] travel team again this year,” Marquis said. Her travel team is loaded with college prospects from Rhode Island and Massachusetts. “ITZ from Fall River, Mass., is the team’s sponsor,” Marquis said. ITZ stands for In the Zone. Because Marquis also plays for ITZ, her practice regime was four days a week in preparation for the upcoming season.

Marquis’ schedule is typical for a high school athlete playing both school and club ball with aspirations to play in college. But it’s Marquis’ academic commitments that makes her schedule remarkable.

Marquis, who said that she is ranked No. 11 in a class of 414, is currently engaged in an academic schedule that includes advanced placement courses in English, Spanish, calculus and biology, as well as two honors electives: human anatomy and physics.

This rigorous academic course load may be a reason for her recent admission to the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. Marquis would love to play softball at the Division III school and she said that she is likely to pursue biology or pre-med.

Marquis started playing softball in Italy. She was a third grader at the time and by the end of the fifth grade, she and her family were headed to Raleigh, N.C., for her sixth-grade year where she pitched in a slow-pitch softball league. When the family first arrived in Jamestown, Marquis found that fast-pitch softball dominated and she joined a travel team.

“I’ve been playing on travel teams ever since,” Marquis said.

As a seventh grader at Lawn Avenue School, Marquis was the only girl on the school’s baseball team, something she described as “definitely a different experience.” It was odd too, she said, because she would leave baseball practice and go directly to her travel team’s softball practice.

Sports have always found time in Marquis’ hectic schedule. She began her high school career as a three-sport athlete—volleyball, basketball and softball—and for her sophomore and junior years she threw the shot put during the indoor track season in addition to playing softball.

When Marquis is not hitting a softball or the books, she can be found with her family that includes her parents, sister Madison and brother Justin.

Other interests include a fondness for “old music.” Marquis said that she is a fan of Bon Jovi, the Eagles and Billy Squire.

As a participant in the arts, Marquis has taken several classes in theatre at North Kingstown and has performed monologues at the Rhode Island Theatre Education Association. Perhaps her most notable stage experience was playing the role of the Scarecrow in an all- Italian production of “The Wizard of Oz” as a fifth grader in Italy.

Marquis, who appears to possess brains, heart and plenty of courage, will be starting in center field for the Skippers in their next game, an April 11 matchup on the road against East Providence at Pierce Memorial Stadium at 4 p.m.

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