2023 Gazette Softball Player of the Year: Jocelyn Mettey, Hampshire Regional

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer

Published: 07-21-2023 8:11 PM

Jocelyn Mettey handed Hampshire Regional softball coach Brian McGan the game ball back. She’d just thrown a no-hitter, usually a career achievement.

“That was kind of unique. It didn’t really strike her as a big performance,” McGan said. “She knew the next game was going to be bigger, so she wanted to be better at it.”

Throwing no-hitters loses some luster when you do it in your varsity debut. Mettey didn’t allow a hit against Chicopee in her first game as a Hampshire eighth grader in 2019.

“I knew we had something kind of special going on,” McGan said. “As an eighth grader you put her in a spotlight in her first varsity game and you do something like throwing a no-hitter, good things are on the horizon.”

She added seven more no-nos for a career total of eight, including two perfect games her senior year. The Daily Hampshire Gazette Softball Player of the Year struck out all 15 Northampton batters on April 27 then didn’t allow a Pope Francis base runner in the Western Massachusetts Class B quarterfinals against Pope Francis.

“At Hampshire we don’t like to tell the kids how good they really are. They know what they do as a team as far as the end result. Joss fit into that,” McGan said. “First of all she’s a great kid. The softball part of it comes for us second, and for me especially second. She’s never been a big problem. She’s never created any kind of problems. Her all around demeanor has fit right in with every team that she’s played on.”

Mettey picked that environment for herself. She transferred from Easthampton after seventh grade looking for a change of scenery.

“I just personally had a hard time at Easthampton, nothing against the school at all, but I needed to start a new adventure,” she said. “I think that was good for me, and I’m so grateful I did.”

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Hampshire is, too. Mettey toed the rubber for four Western Massachusetts titles. It could have been five if the start of the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t wiped out the 2020 season. She still managed to collect more than 100 career hits (130) and 500 career strikeouts (560), the only Raider ever to do both.

“I knew I was close, but I couldn’t let that stop me from doing well at every game. You get your 100th hit, you get your 500th strikeout, you have to keep going,” Mettey said. “It’s a success for me and that’s always been one of my goals since I was younger. It doesn’t happen often. There’s often not a mix between the pitcher hitting and it’s a pretty big deal that I got that.”

She wrapped up both by the middle of May then led the Raiders to a third consecutive Western Massachusetts title after throwing a shutout against Pittsfield in the final. That was part of an 11-game win streak near the end of the year that took Hampshire all the way to its first state final since 2016.

“She led well this year and tried to keep the team intact. When things got down or hectic, she was the one you could hear on the bench,” McGan said. “She grew up before our eyes.”

Mettey honed the mental side of the game as much as her mechanics, pitching repertoire or fielding. Growing from age 13 to age 18 helped, but she also learned from friends within the Raiders program and outside like former Easthampton ace Rachael Robinson.

“She has been my No. 1 since we were literally 10 years old. I’ve always looked up to her,” Mettey said. “Rachael was my best friend when I left Easthampton. That was a really hard thing on me. She still cared for me and wanted me to improve always even when we were on opposite schools. I looked up to her.”

That network expanded as the Raiders played more teams outside of Western Massachusetts with the implementation of the statewide tournament. Mettey formed a fast friendship with Amesbury pitcher Isabelle Levasseur after their state quarterfinal duel. 

Levasseur was one of the first people to reach out to Mettey after the Raiders’ state championship game loss against Joseph Case.

“She’s had such an incredible impact and was there for me when we lost that game and it was really hard on me,” Mettey said. “She was the first person to pick me up. It’s  given me a ton of friendships.”

Those likely won’t stop. Mettey began summer practice three days after the final for her travel team and will play at Lasell University in Newton next season. She still takes hitting lessons from McGan like she has since she was 11.

Once you’re a part of the Hampshire softball family, it doesn’t let you go.

“However long they play, someday they’re not going to be there. Obviously it’s a sad day when you have to say goodbye to them, but you know they’re going to move on to bigger and better things,” McGan said. “It’s like one of your own kids. I would do anything for any of them. To fill that void is not an easy task, but somehow we do it.”

FIRST TEAM ALL-STARS

Taylor Barry, senior, Hopkins Academy

Stephanie Barton, junior, Amherst

Teagan Charles, junior, Hampshire

Ashley Cortis, junior, Hampshire

Josie Dubay, sophomore, Smith Vocational

Delaney Fifield, sophomore, Frontier

Ana Grohowski, junior, Easthampton

Sophia Holden, junior, Amherst

Maria Koneiczny, senior, Amherst

Abby McClaflin, senior, Easthampton

Joss Mettey, senior, Hampshire

Lauren Morse, senior, Easthampton

Isabelle Palmisano, senior, Hopkins Academy

Lauren Parker, senior, Granby

Grace Roy, junior, Granby

Jaycalee Santos, senior, Holyoke

Isabella Schaeffer, sophomore, South Hadley

Skyler Steele, eighth grader, Frontier

Ashley Taylor, sophomore, Frontier

CC Thayer, freshman, Hampshire

Kaliya Valentin, senior, Northampton

Jae Velazquez, senior, South Hadley

Hailey Wodecki, junior, Hampshire

Kaelyn Zakaitis, senior, Hopkins Academy

SECOND TEAM ALL-STARS

Vanessa Antil, sophomore, Smith Vocational

Jenna Bobrowski, junior, South Hadley

Alexi Bonenfant, junior, Gateway

Erin Bullough, junior, South Hadley

Jess Cloutier, senior, Easthampton

Quinlin Cook, sophomore, Granby

Laura Cote, junior, Belchertown

Kaitlyn Curran, freshman, Granby

Emma Czarniecki, senior, Hampshire

Cassie Dion, eighth grader, Hopkins Academy

Lily Ellia, freshman, Hopkins Academy

Cassandra Flaherty, sophomore, Granby

Rosie Follet, junior, Easthampton

Willow Hicks, seventh grader, Gateway

Hailey Hutkoski, junior, Frontier

Grace Johnson, senior, Amherst

Kaitlyn Maynard, junior, Gateway

Cassidi Mushenski, junior, Hopkins Academy

Sophia Pinardi, sophomore, Frontier

Ara Powers, junior, South Hadley

Sasha Rodriguez, sophomore, Northampton

Haley Routhier, senior, Easthampton

Makayla Tatro, sophomore, Smith Vocational

Ariana Texidor-Melendez, sophomore, Amherst

HONORABLE MENTION

Gabrielle Adams, junior, Frontier

Tryana Ayala, sophomore, Holyoke

Layni Bailey, freshman, Hopkins Academy

Sophie Butler, sophomore, South Hadley

Mabel Carillon, sophomore, Granby

Karli Carmody, sophomore, South Hadley

Kayley Downie, junior, Easthampton

Raegan Dubay, eighth grader, Hampshire

Ryanne Dubay, eighth grader, Hampshire

Nina Holden, freshman, Amherst

Janiya Lagoy, sophomore, Holyoke

Jillian Lavallee, seventh grader, Smith Academy

Olivia Machon, sophomore, Frontier

Daelin Murdock, junior, Smith Vocational

Maddison O’Connor, senior, Smith Vocational

Lily Pelis, sophomore, Northampton

Maggie Potter, sophomore, Hopkins Academy

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