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Dot’s ‘Emme’ Finnigan brings spice to the diamond game

Dot’s ‘Emme’ Finnigan brings spice to the diamond game

If there’s one thing that has defined Emmerson “Emme” Finnigan’s softball career at Fontbonne Academy or one of its many neighborhood teams, it’s a perpetually dirty, grass-stained uniform, a testament to her rough playing style when stealing base or dive to stop. a ground ball.

But a case could also be made that the 17-year-old’s legacy will be about longevity and toughness. If all holds true over the final few weeks of the season, she will have played in all 86 high school games from start to finish – from her freshman year to her senior year.

“She literally goes for every ball,” said Fontbonne Head Coach Jacqui Losi, who has guided Finnigan’s development over the past three years. “That girl isn’t afraid to get dirty… She practices like she’s playing – all the way, all the time.”

17-year-old Emme Finnigan of Dorchester is on pace to have played all 86 high school softball games, starting to finish at Fontbonne Academy – where she was captain of the team for two years. Seth Daniel photo

Losi’s is echoed by her Dorchester travel coach, Dan Clark, who has seen many players come through in the area, but none with Finnigan’s raw competitiveness.

“While the ADSL girls softball program was buzzing with interest and players, Emme was a standout with top talent,” he said. “She is one of the most competitive players I have ever experienced. She goes all out for every ball and always dives for a ball at her position at short stop. Emme has a sense of drama, which makes SportsCenter a highlight on the field.”

Finnigan, a three-sport athlete from Fontbonne with a long Dorchester family pedigree, said her playing style stems from following her older brothers, Braedan and Regan, on the sidelines of neighborhood parks until it was her turn to shine. She remembers playing baseball with them almost every day in the summer and consistently hitting the nets at their home in St. Brendan’s while their mother, Kim, watched over them and ran a local daycare and preschool in Neponset.

For Finnigan, the diamond is her happy place. “I like getting dirty, I don’t know why,” she said with a laugh during a recent interview. “I like to play the best – 100 percent – ​​and dive for the ball at shortstop. I think I am stronger in the field than as a hitter, but when I play well, the fielding always makes me happy.”

Finnigan said she prefers playing in the field, but her hitting — from both ends of the court — has improved tremendously this year, she and her coaches said. Photo courtesy of Fontbonne Academy

When Finnigan started playing Savin Hill baseball on co-ed teams, where she was often the only girl on the field, Finnigan taught the boys to challenge the boys and be tough. When she was nine, she started playing in ADSL softball and in the RBI league, eventually playing on the Drifters travel team. It was there, she said, that her coaches, including Dorchester’s Katie Nolan — also a coach at Fontbonne — helped shape her into the player she is today.

“She has a great ability to keep teams on their toes, whether it’s through her tricks or sheer talent. She is always seen as a threat to the opponents,” said Nolan. “Emme is the true definition of a student-athlete, always putting her studies first and working hard to get good grades in order to excel on the field.”

After attending Murphy School for grades K-4, and then Boston Collegiate Charter School for grades 5-8, Finnigan moved to Fontbonne. As a wide-eyed freshman, she soon found herself on the field with older girls — who she thought had given her confidence.

“They helped everyone,” she said. “The juniors and seniors. If a freshman made a mistake, they helped him fix it without being rude about it.”

That experience made her the kind of leader she has become both on and off the field. As the team’s two-year captain, Finnigan has led by example and is the kind of player that coaches say they can rely on to run drills during practice when their focus is elsewhere. Finnigan said she takes the role of “field general” very seriously. Hanging out with teammates is probably her most cherished memory.

“People look up to you and it’s a very important role,” she said. “I think team bonding is one of my favorite things. We’ll go get ice cream together if we win after the games. It’s fun to talk and do such team activities. That’s probably what I enjoyed the most.”

Her mother said watching Emme has brought her comfort. “No matter what happens at any given time in life, when I look at her, I come to a place of happiness,” she said. “She just has this natural talent and presence on the court. I will always be her biggest fan.”

Finnigan said it’s been an amazing ride, and she still can’t believe she played in every game of her high school career, but admitted she loved every moment of it. Now she is in the middle of choosing a course of study and where she could continue her softball career. But she often thinks back to that freshman from Dorchester and what she would tell her after four years of high school experience.

“I would tell myself to keep playing with confidence and keep working hard because even if you fail, there will be times when you succeed,” she said. “I would tell myself that unless you fail a few times, you can’t succeed.”