Concord softball’s senior class reflects on a dominant four-year run

Concord's five-player senior class. From left to right: Alison Dupuis, Lily Hackett, Sarah Taylor, Maddy Wachter and Delaney Duford.

Concord's five-player senior class. From left to right: Alison Dupuis, Lily Hackett, Sarah Taylor, Maddy Wachter and Delaney Duford. Chip Griffin—Photos By Chip

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 05-17-2024 11:38 PM

CONCORD — The Concord softball class of 2024 has basically known nothing but winning. They won the NHIAA Division I state championship last spring after finishing as runners-up the previous two seasons. Now 14-2 this year after a 1-0 walkoff win over Spaulding on Friday night — their senior night — the Tide once again have championship aspirations.

The Monitor caught up with the five-player senior class featuring Maddy Wachter, Sarah Taylor, Delaney Duford, Lily Hackett and Alison Dupuis ahead of Friday’s game to hear more about their experiences as part of the program and what they’ll miss most as they move on to the next stage of their lives. Four of them will continue on to play softball in college, Wachter at Bryant University, Taylor at Stonehill College, Duford at Franklin Pierce University and Hackett at Smith College.

Answers have been edited and condensed.

Concord Monitor: What’s it like to just be here now for Senior Night?

Delaney Duford: I think it’s really just a full-circle moment. We have kids here that are going to be in our shoes someday, and it's just really cool to look out and be like, we were in their shoes one day, and now we're here, so it's all about the next group coming up. We're really honored to have been part of this program and had success the past four years and just pass it along to the next group of seniors that are coming up and then the next generation of players that are here to watch us day in and day out.

Sarah Taylor: It’s weird that it's mine, and it doesn't feel real, either. I can’t believe the end is near.

Maddy Wachter: When I first started playing softball, I started playing with half of the girls on this team, so to know that they've literally been with you throughout it all is amazing, and know that they've always been by my side and been the best teammates I could ever imagine.

CM: What’s been your favorite part of being in this program?

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Alison Dupuis: I think the group of girls. It's a very welcoming group of girls. The energy's very positive, and it just makes it a really fun environment to play in. We all mesh very well and work well together, and that helps our success a lot.

Lily Hackett: I would say we definitely mesh well together, and we have each other's back, which is really helpful, especially if you make a mistake, you've got people behind you that can back you up. It just makes everything more fun also.

Taylor: Just honestly playing with such talented people. I feel like we get really lucky each year because we have a lot of talent here in Concord.

Duford: I think it's really cool because we're fortunate enough to play with, like Sarah said, a lot of talented players, but not even talented players, but talented people and great people to be around. None of us ever dread coming to practice. It's always fun. We always enjoy each other's company which I think is huge to our play on the field.

CM: What’s your favorite memory playing Concord softball?

Duford: Obviously winning a championship but also for me, getting to ride the bus back through downtown Concord and just driving by everyone and all the businesses, just everyone having your back as a community and a town, that was one of the coolest moments that we ever had, windows down, riding through our town that we all grew up in. It was really, really cool.

Wachter: I would say, the state championship game would be one. Knowing the feeling of losing two years in a row, and then finally knowing what it feels like to win after is amazing, and it's also a full-circle moment to know that you've been on the other side of it two years in a row. To know what it's like finally to reach the final and actually win it is really cool.

CM: What do you think you’re going to miss most about being part of this program?

Dupuis: Everything. I don't think I could pick just one.

Hackett: The girls, obviously. It's so great to have a group that's so close, but also the coaches and everything, it's great.

Wachter: Literally everything.

Taylor: It's such a special community here in Concord, too, and everyone wants to win, and it's so competitive here, and obviously college is going to be a lot more competitive, but there's just something special about this program, and I don't even know if I can put my (finger) on it, but I'm just going to miss it a lot.

Duford: The opportunity to have Concord written across your chest is something that not everyone gets to experience, and having the pride that you're playing for your town and you're representing your school, you're representing your friends, your family, it's something that's just super special, that we won't have in college. You're playing for a school, you're not playing for your hometown most of the time. I think that part's really cool.

Wachter: And especially because it is your hometown, all your family can come and watch. If you go away to college and you go further away, your family's not always going to be able to be there, so it's really nice having the memories of them here watching you play the game we love while also being surrounded by all the teammates that you love and all the different people you built relationships with and friendships within this community.