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Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 2:07 am

Pawtucket Slaterettes Having Another Banner Year

BYLINE: GREG BOTELHO Journal Staff Writer
DATE: 06-28-1999
PUBLICATION: Providence Journal Company
SECTION: Newspapers & Newswires
PAGE: C-03
* The girls’ baseball league has more than 250 players this year, its 26th, but lack of similar leagues elsewhere limits post-season events.*

PAWTUCKET – No doubt about it, these girls are playing hardball.

Ever since they began play in April, “The Gruesome Twosome” – otherwise known as Lindsay Johnston and Nichole Servant – have been overpowering their competition on the mound, in the field and in the batter’s box.

And “The Gruesome Twosome” are not the only two players in their league playing with power. Even if the Pawtucket Slaterettes league may have trouble finding other girls baseball teams beyond the city limits, there is no shortage of competition within its ranks this season because the talent and level of competition is near an all-time high.

Johnston and Servant’s team, Rhode Island Petroleum, finished the Junior League regular season in a three-way first-place tie with a 9-6 record, although officially behind Superior Pipe and ahead of Advanced Flooring in the Junior Division regular season standings.

With 14 fence-clearing home runs and a seemingly endless supply of strikeouts, great defensive plays and more, these girls prove every week they can play ball.

It’s one of the closest seasons in the past few years. Everybody is just about even,” said Mike Cullinan, league president. “They’re having a lot of fun doing it – just smiling, that’s what we’re out there for.”

With 253 girls on 21 teams in four divisions (T-ball, Minor, Junior and Senior), the Pawtucket Slaterettes baseball program seems to have solid footing in this, its 26th year.

Even as the Slaterettes’ numbers have remained good, they lost one of their few sister programs after a girls baseball league in Medford, Mass., folded last year. Now, the closest such female baseball league to Rhode Island is located in the Washington, D.C., area.

The focus of Slaterettes players is not on any national trend, but simply playing a game they love. Asked what she enjoys most about baseball, Servant said: “Winning, I guess, and just being able to play.”

And these girls certainly can play. For example, as of last week, Lauren Henry led the Junior Division with a blistering .722 batting average, followed by Servant at .643 and Aubrie Phaneuf at .613. Henry leads this league in hits and doubles, while Kristen Langevin tops everyone in RBI and shares the league home run lead, at 4, with Kayla Cruz.

While both also play shortstop, Servant and Johnston earn their nickname, “The Gruesome Twosome.”