Crouched behind home plate, the Hudson catcher had just watched her pitcher's last offering get crushed, a screamer just foul down the line. She waited for the next pitch called in from assistant coach Ray Girard, who along with head coach Russ Davis had called games since DeArcangelis took over a year earlier as a freshman. But when he called the same pitch as before, DeArcangelis disagreed. So the sophomore shook her head, turned her head toward the mound, and, for the first time, made her own call.
"Struck the girl out," said Davis. "Made her look silly. I have questioned maybe three calls she has made since."
DeArcangelis is now one of three senior captains who rule over the Hudson softball team, each with a unique story of how they came into their own.
For Jamie Millett, it was three games into her eighth grade year when she was called up to varsity as a sub. After a few girls failed to impress Davis, Millett got the start at short. She did everything right and has been a starter ever since, in center field as a freshman and at second the past three.
For Amanda Lambert, it happened a little later, when she made the varsity team as a sophomore. With an opening in center, Lambert made sure she got it, winning the spot over numerous older teammates. She started her first game, and hasn't sat since.
The three might have different strengths and personalities, but what all have in common is a palpable determination to succeed, and, as evident by Hudson's 19-1 record and No. 1 seed in the Division 2 Central playoffs, it has spilled over to the rest of the team.
"They saw whatever was needed for the team and did what was needed to do it," said Davis. "They have taken everything the coaches taught them and taught the other kids that this is the way it's done. Its like having three more coaches on the team."
The moment that the three became leaders was distinct. After Hudson lost last year to Norton in the state championship, the three looked at each other, thinking the same thing. Next year it was their turn, and their responsibility. They felt what it was like to succeed and also to fail, and, next year, they felt it would end differently.
"We thought a lot about how unbelievable it was that we made it that far," said Lambert. "After feeling the huge pain of that loss, you just want to get back."
So the three set out with a game plan. They would focus on team chemistry. The talent was there, with most kids returning, but the social atmosphere had to change. No more separation. Just one team.
This year, the three have acted not only as coaches, but advisers and, most importantly, friends. They run the first 45 minutes of each practice without Davis or his assistants, and make an effort to float around during the rest of practice, coaching their teammates and keeping everyone involved. And no matter what, they make sure they're always on the same page.
"If there is a controversy, us three will talk about it first and decide what to do," said DeArcangelis. "This is the closest Hudson team I have ever been on."
After a year in the books as captains, DeArcangelis, Lambert and Millett now get a chance to be leaders of a playoff team, with Hudson's postseason kicking off Monday.
"I just want to end this season playing great," said Lambert. "After the Shrewsbury loss (Hudson's only loss this year), I wasn't even angry, but just so happy to be part of a team that has so much heart. Obviously we want to win the state championship, but if we have to go down, I want to go down working hard, fighting."
One thing is certain: DeArcangelis will call her own pitches the whole way.