Above and beyond the field
Above and beyond the field
LINCOLN - They were wide-eyed and uncertain when they marched onto a softball field for the first time a decade ago.
Since then, a group of five Lincoln High School seniors have created lifetime memories and forged the closest possible bond.
"We met when our parents signed us up to play softball when we were 8," said Kellyn Dyer. "We've been together since and are all best friends."
Along with Casie Beauchemin, McKenzie Cavanaugh, Meredith Walsh and Lauren Hervieux, Dyer has won seven state softball championships, and the quintet hopes to add one final title to its resume before graduating this month.
For LHS, they have already won two consecutive Rhode Island Interscholastic League Division I championships and are gunning for a third.
"Ever since we were 8, we've been the infield on all those all-star teams, travel teams and on our school teams," said Cavanaugh, who plays first base.
Dyer is the third baseman, Beauchemin the shortstop, Walsh is at second and Hervieux is a pitcher. It's been that way with all that success, and there does not appear to be any reason to change it now.
"Who needs an outfield?" Hervieux joked.
Cavanaugh readily recalls the first championship. It came when the girls were playing on the Lincoln Little League Softball 9-10 all-star team.
"It was on July 25, 2007," said Cavanaugh, amazing even her best friends. "Aw, I only remember it because it was my birthday."
All student-athletes, each plays multiple sports, though not the same ones. Hervieux excels in ice hockey and soccer, Walsh is a member of the field hockey team, and Beauchemin, Cavanaugh and Dyer were all members of the school basketball team that made the playoffs the past two seasons.
"But it's been softball that has brought us together and built our camaraderie," said Beauchemin. "We have a special chemistry and bond. We hang out together all the time, inside and out of school."
It helps that they live within five minutes of each other. They're almost never out of touch.
"We text each other all the time, even if we're sitting two feet apart," Dyer said. "We go out to eat together, and we have a lot of sleepovers."
They also credit their parents and coaches for their success. Parents, in many instances, have served as primary coaches for their teams.
"They even coached us in soccer," Walsh said.
It was Beauchemin's cousin, Norm Beauchemin, who first got the girls together when they were 8 and assigned them their positions.
"He was great," said Beauchemin. "He didn't have a kid in the league and never got paid a penny. It was all volunteer, and he's the one who really taught us the game."
They all have vivid memories of their travels together to various tournaments and the adventures they shared, the successes they've experienced, and the disappointments that are inevitable when you play sports on a high level.
"But we always are there for each other, and we love each other," said Beauchemin.
After a decade, it's all coming to an end. All honor students, the girls will be going their separate ways in a few weeks when they walk to a podium and are handed their diplomas, signaling the end of adolescence and the beginning of adulthood.
Beauchemin, the daughter of Bill and Mary Beauchemin, will be heading off to Endicott College, as will Hervieux. She plans on playing softball in college, and Hervieux, daughter of Carlene and Russell Hervieux, will play hockey. Hervieux intends to major in criminal justice, while Beauchemin wants to major in sports management.
Dyer and Walsh will both be going to Curry College. Dyer is the daughter of Maureen and Peter Dyer, and she wants to be a physical therapist.
Cavanaugh is the lone wolf. The daughter of Michael and Tracey Cavanaugh, she will be attending the University of Tampa and wants to major in physical therapy. Each of the girls has compiled an impressive resume in the classroom, in athletics and in the community. Perhaps the most unusual is the fact that Cavanaugh was a member of the high school football team, earning her varsity letter this year.
"I started playing in the youth leagues and just love to play football," she said. "But I'm really a girly girl and not a tomboy. I started wearing makeup when I started playing youth football, and I think I was the only one in high school who painted my fingernails for the games."
They are all aware that their run is coming to a close, but that does not mean they won't remain "besties." They are already making plans to visit each other's college campuses, and although they haven't checked it out with their parents yet, have targeted visiting Cavanaugh in Florida during spring break next year.
They'll be miles apart for the first time since they met, but they aren't concerned.
"That's what FaceTime is for," said Hervieux. "We'll always stay close because we're a family."