One of my favorite memories covering Rhode Island baseball was the 2020 Chariho All Star Weekend Tournament, which is now called the Joe Charette Memorial Tournament. That tournament was the result of a lot of hard work by Chris Charette and the incredible team of volunteers at Chariho Little League. And was created to give Rhode Island Little League players, coaches, and families a chance at a statewide tournament, given the fact that Little League did not hold District All Stars in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions. It was a huge success on so many levels and I got the chance to attend several games.
One game in particular featured Coventry Little League against my hometown team North Kingstown Wickford Little League. I made my way through the crowd of fans and parents at Chariho’s Dow Field over to the press box to introduce myself to Chris, whom I had only been in contact with through email. Chris was calling/scoring/announcing the game when I stepped into the press box. We chatted for a bit about the tournament, as it had reached the weekend portion of the tournament. “That would be a great story for you, she basically pitched Coventry into today’s game,” stated Chris pointing to Coventry’s Leah Lapham at the plate. Chris was glowing in his remarks about Leah’s talent and I thought to myself, yeah that is a great story.
So, I followed up with a few contacts I knew at Coventry Little League and was able to connect with Leah’s parents – Adrianne and Dave – as well as Leah via email. I interviewed her and her parents on baseball, school, and the future of Leah playing baseball. In that interview, the parents and Leah had mentioned that post Little League, Leah would be transitioning over to fast pitch softball which they felt was the right move for her going forward athletically and ultimately when it came time for college scholarship opportunities. It was a great article to write and share and I am so happy to have met the Laphams in my baseball journey.
Fast forward to this week. I had posted a fun exercise for players to brag about themselves, honor coaches and mentors, and tell me more about their baseball journey in 2022. I received an outstanding response on Tuesday and I want to share it and the photos attached with you now. So, without further interruption, Brag About Yourself – Leah Lapham:
Two years ago you wrote an article “The RIBBE Meets The Lapham Family of Coventry Baseball”. It’s been two years since I stopped playing baseball and made the transition to fastpitch softball. I’m writing to you because I still follow the RIBBE posts and articles and saw this one on the RI baseball player, brag about yourself. I decided to change it to the RI softball player.
I currently play shortstop for the ASFMS softball team as an 8th grader. I also play shortstop for travel competitive softball on the East Coast Scorpions 14u Gold team. When I made my transition from baseball to softball I had a lot to learn. One of the biggest things I had to adjust to was hitting the ball. It comes from the pitcher at a different arm slot with a different angle and various pitches like a rise ball or drop curve that I had never seen before. I worked really hard with all my team coaches plus putting in extra time with hitting coaches and my dad on my swing and timing.
I’m very thankful for the support both my mom and dad have given me to becoming a better softball player. I have built up my confidence since I first started softball after my transition from baseball and I’ve hit 5 homeruns over the fence along with many other solid hits including triples, doubles, and singles. I’ve had many key hits with RBI’s that have won games for my teams. I’ve also had some very crucial key plays defensively that keeps my team in the game.
I’m very thankfully for my coaches back in baseball who taught me the skills and knowledge I have taken over to softball to be successful defensively as a short stop player. I’m going to keep working hard during the season and training in the off season, putting in the extra time, effort, strength conditioning, and practice both offensively and defensively as a short stop to reach my next goal which is making the Varsity Softball team as a freshman next year at Coventry High School. I would love to contribute and give it my all to help the team win a state title in our division.
My overall dream and goal is to keep working hard, always learning and improving, and to play for a D1 college or university. One thing I really do miss about baseball is being on the mound and the reactions I got pitching along with my pitching coach, Daryl Pina, who always encouraged me and taught me everything I knew as a baseball pitcher. But, I’m very happy in the decision I made to transition to fastpitch softball with the relationships and friendships I’ve made and the support I’ve gotten from everyone around me.
The RI baseball player, now the RI softball player,
Leah, thank you for updating me and so many who follow your progress on the field. I really appreciate the respect you have for the game and the people who helped bring you to new levels of success. Feel free to brag about yourself and update us/me anytime!!!