All you need is Lové.
Because, last season, whenever the Mount Sinai softball team needed a crucial double play, or a timely hit, or a joke to lighten the mood, it was often Lové Drumgole who delivered. And she was only a freshman.
“She does things that seniors can’t do,” Mount Sinai coach Tom Tilton said. “She’s just a natural.”
Though the Mustangs graduated key seniors from last season’s county championship team — and though they’ll start two eighth-graders, four freshman and three sophomores — they remain a threat to repeat. That’s thanks in part to Drumgole, a five-tool shortstop who, before stepping onto the field for her sophomore season, was voted team captain and accepted an offer to play Division I softball at Longwood University.
“Our goal is to take home the county title again,” said Drumgole, whose first name is pronounced ‘Le-Vay.’ “We can be really good. The young girls have a lot of talent.”
Just as Drumgole did when she was young — or younger than she is now anyway. It didn’t take long to notice that Drumgole, who was on her first travel team in third grade, had exceptional talent. Even when playing against older competition.
“The other kids were running away from the ball, she was attacking it,” her mother, Fern Burke, said. “That’s when we were like, “Yeah, we may have something here!’”
Drumgole was also a competitive dancer. Burke said the running joke in the family was that Drumgole was the type who would slide into home wearing a tutu and a face full of makeup. Always wanting to be like her older brother, Brandonn, a three-sport athlete at Mount Sinai who now plays football at Plymouth University, she gave up dancing to focus on softball. She made varsity at Mount Sinai as an eighth grader, and last season helped capture the first county championship in program history.
“She turned two double plays for us in the county final,” Tilton said. “How many times you hear that in high school?”
With tremendous speed, instincts and quick hands, Drumgole makes what are typically rare occurrences look common. Capable of laying down the bunt or hitting line drives, she hit .477 with 27 RBIs last season.
The success she had last season came during a very difficult time in her life. Drumgole’s father, Edward, was a staple at all of his daughter’s softball games. Then just before the start of last season, he passed away.
“It was hard because it was different without him being here,” Drumgole said. “He loved watching me play. But I knew he was looking down and watching. So I had to keep playing. His dream was to see my play Division I. That pushed me to work so hard for him.”
Drumgole’s teammates became her second family. And Drumgole helped keep the mood light and the pressure off by remaining the team comedian. Up at bat in a tie game, Drumgole announced that the cloud formation looked like a McDonald’s hamburger.
Drumgole plans on keeping the jokes and hits coming to assist her young but talented teammates. Freshman pitcher Julia Golino, who went 12-1 last season, has what Tilton says is the potential to “rewrite the record books.” Catcher Sabrina Burris, the Mustangs’ lone senior, and Angela Bukofsky, who had a team-high 28 RBIs, will provide power in the middle of the lineup.
“Don’t be shocked if we win another county title,” Tilton said. “This is a very special group. I’ll tell you what, if we do lose it this year, you’re not beating us for the next three. And a big part of the reason why will be Lové.”