By Cary Shuman
Talk about the perfect ending to your high school career.
Kristina Burri, senior softball captain at St. Mary’s High School, couldn’t have written a more satisfying final chapter to her incredible softball career.
Burri had three hits and three RBIs to lead St. Mary’s to an 11-1 win over Murdock High School in the Division 3 state championship game.
It was the second state championship in a row for Burri, a four-time Catholic Central League All-Star who backboned the Spartans’ defense and was one of the team’s leading hitters.
“It’s amazing that we got so far both years,” said Burri. “It was a whole team effort and we all practiced and worked as hard we could to get there. Winning two state titles was the perfect ending.”
St. Mary’s coach Colleen Newbury said Burri was superb in the regular season and in the State Tournament, hitting for power and average and demonstrating her fielding prowess at second base.
“Just watching her play every game, I’d say Kristina has to be one of the best second basemen in the state,” lauded Newbury. “Her range is dynamite. People think they have a basehit and she just gets over there and robs them of it. She’s a great heads-up player, too. She sees a lot of things defensively that a lot of players don’t have the presence to do. She’s just a smart player and a smart hitter.”
Burri’s rise to being one of the top high school players in the state comes as no surprise to those East Bostonians who saw her develop her talents in Robyn DiMeo’s Senior Girls Softball League. When she was seven years old, she was playing and excelling against the “older girls” in the league.
“I was excited to play against the older kids,” said Burri, whose father, Steve, was a coach.
At every age level in East Boston Little League Baseball or Girls Softball, Burri was clearly the best girl on the field. She was also a talented dancer, having taken lessons at Eleanor Rubino Dance Academy.
By the time she arrived at St. Mary’s High School, her reputation as a can’t-miss prospect preceded her. And sure enough, Burri earned the starting shortstop position in her very first varsity game. She moved over to second base and became a master at fielding bunts and slow rollers in the Spartans’ “slap” defense.
“I pride myself on my fielding,” Burri says humbly. “My Little League coach, John Forbes Sr., really helped me become a good fielder. He was my brother Steve’s coach and then he got me on his team. My brother used to give me his baseball gloves. When he grew out of them I’d use them.”
Burri also took her big-time glove and potent bat next door to Revere where she starred for the city’s Senior Babe Ruth All-Star teams, with one of those teams advancing to the Babe Ruth World Series in New Jersey. “Mr [Butch] Bruno helped me improve my game a lot when I was in that league,” said Burri.
At St. Mary’s, Burri also established her credentials in the classroom where she was an honor roll student and a member of the National Honor Society. She will attend Suffolk University in the fall.
“I really liked St. Mary’s a lot – I’m glad I went there,” said Burri. “I was going to go to Savio [where her cousin, Mike Burri, was a sports standout] but it closed in my sophomore year.”
There were high expectations for Burri when she came to St. Mary’s, but she surpassed even those lofty goals with four outstanding seasons in the program. She’ll miss her teammates and playing softball under coach Colleen Newbury.
“Coach Newbury was a good coach who worked hard with us every day,” said Burri. “She’s very dedicated to the team. I learned a lot from her. We had great chemistry on the team.”
Interestingly, Burri – arguably the best softball player ever to come out of East Boston – may be calling it a career.
“I’m undecided whether I’ll be playing softball at Suffolk,” said Burri, who is not competing in a league this summer. “I may play intramural softball.”
It’s been a long, joyous ride for Kristina Burri, the former Eastie superstar softball player who’s now an intelligent and attractive 18-year-old woman poised to begin the next phase of her life.
“I just want to thank my parents and my brother for all their support,” said Burri. “I’m a little sad that my softball days may be over, but I just want to work on my academics first in college and see how it goes.”
Here’s hoping she returns to the diamond one day, if not as a college player, then as a future coach.