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Lauren Allen played a big role in helping the Valley Regional softball team notch a record of 21-3 this year. The junior shortstop batted second for the Warriors and put up a .430 batting average with 30 runs scored and 17 RBI. (Photo courtesy of Lauren Allen )
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Lauren Allen proved an integral part of the Valley Regional softball team’s outstanding 2019 season that saw the Warriors go 21-3 and advance to the Shoreline Conference Tournament final. Lauren, who recently completed her junior year, batted second for Valley and displayed a great glove at the shortstop position.
Lauren has started for the Warriors during all three of her seasons on the softball team. She played third base as a freshman, before shifting over to shortstop as a sophomore.
Lauren says that her most memorable moment on the diamond came when Valley Regional defeated perennial Shoreline Conference powerhouse North Branford twice during the 2019 regular season. The two victories were huge for the Warriors, who had struggled against the Thunderbirds in past years.
“One of my best memories was when we beat North Branford for the first time. I don’t think we ever did that before,” Lauren says. “Even though I didn’t have the best game, everyone really stepped up and chipped in for that win.”
Lauren made a huge contribution to the Warriors’ lineup this season, posting a .430 batting average to go with 30 runs scored and 17 RBI. Lauren didn’t have many rough days at the plate, but if she did, she made up for it with her steady hand in the field.
“I feel like shortstop has a lot of responsibilities on the infield covering during shifts. There’s a lot to do. When people move up to prevent the bunt, that’s a better chance for the ball to get through on a hit. Also, if it’s a bunt to first, I have to cover second, and I also have to make sure the outfielder covers third,” says Lauren, a Deep River resident. “I rely on both my defense and my offense. If I’m having a bad day in the field, I’ll try to step up at bat. I’ve been playing shortstop for a while, so I’m comfortable there, and you can always work on hitting.”
The Warriors were a force in the Shoreline Conference this spring and only lost one game during the regular season. With just one senior on the roster, Lauren tried to step up and serve as a strong veteran presence for the team’s younger athletes.
“I definitely tried to be a leader on and off the field. I wanted everyone to have a positive attitude and, if anyone got down on themselves, I would reassure them,” Lauren says. “On the field, I would call out plays and make sure that everyone knew where to go with the ball.”
Lauren has won Valley Regional’s Coaches’ Award two times for her contributions—once in her freshman season and again this year. Lauren takes great pride in that honor, especially since she won the award while working with two different coaching staffs.
“That means a lot to me. The coaching staffs are completely different, so I know I can adapt in any type of environment and step up. That means a lot to me,” says Lauren, who also plays for the Valley girls’ soccer squad. “I really like the coaching staff this year. I think the whole team did. We all worked really well together.”
Valley put together one of the most successful campaigns that the program has seen in a long time this spring. While the Warriors weren’t able to take home the Shoreline Conference title, Lauren feels optimistic about their chances to claim the crown next season.
“This year, everyone contributed, and we played like a team. We always picked each other up and got hyped on the bench. Softball is a mental game and, if you get hard on yourself, it’s going to have a negative effect. The coaches were very supportive, which helps. All the players were comfortable,” Lauren says. “In the Shoreline final, North Branford is there every year. They deal with that pressure a lot. We were a younger team, and I think that was a factor—the pressure. Next year, if we get there again, I think that we’ll be better.”
Head Coach Allyson Pitney got to see Lauren’s softball skills firsthand over the course of the season. Pitney first met Lauren when she joined the coaching staff for the girls’ soccer squad. When she became the head coach for softball, Pitney witnessed just how big of an impact Lauren had on the ballfield.
“Lauren is a great person. She made me feel so welcome when I was new to the soccer coaching staff during her freshman year and again on the softball diamond last year. She’s a hard worker in her sports, her school, and her community. Lauren is a quiet leader who leads with her actions. She’s definitely a role model for younger players, especially in her dedication to the team,” Coach Pitney says. “Batting second, we can count on Lauren to move our leadoff hitter into scoring position, often getting on base in the process. She’s responsible for 25 percent of our team’s total runs this season between her 30 runs and 17 RBI.”
Looking ahead to next year, Lauren can’t wait to see what Valley can accomplish. After the Warriors got some postseason experience under their belts this season, Lauren thinks that they can go even further during the 2020 campaign.
“I think next year we should be able to have a similar regular season. It was a really good year this year,” Lauren says. “For the postseason, I think now that we’re used to the pressure, we can win Shorelines and go pretty far in states, too.”
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