Softball Looks to Break Playoff Drought with Strong Pitching

The Jeffs will open their season this Sunday against Salem State University at the Gene Curse Collegiate Classic in Florida. The Vikings will prove a tough opener, as they went 35-10-1 last year and went on to compete in the NCAA Tournament. Afterwards, the Jeffs will face the University of New England, wrapping up a challenging season debut.

The Jeffs will have plenty of time to warm up and learn from one another, however, as they do not play their first conference game until April 1 in a three-game series against Hamilton College. They will then tackle defending NESCAC champion Wesleyan before playing seven of their last eight games on the road, closing out the regular season with a doubleheader at Williams.

As the season progresses, the Jeffs are sure to rely heavily upon pitcher Theresa Kelley ’13, who earned six wins and pitched six complete games, finishing with a 2.97 ERA as a first-year. Trading her glove for a bat, the versatile Kelley also hopes to repeat her heroics from last season, going 3-4 with a game-winning RBI-single in a nail-biting 7-6 win over champions Wesleyan. She will share pitching duties with classmate Christina Anderson ’13, who posted a 3-1 record on the mound last year, striking out 10 hitters against Fitchburg State last season.

The team will look to the leadership of the three seniors, Katie Kervick, Jillian Masi and Sam Presnal, who hope to build upon their solid performances of the past three years. They will prove especially helpful to the three new faces on the team: first-years Arielle Doering, Carolyn Miller and Kaitlin Silkowitz, who should all contribute both offensively and especially defensively to the team. According to catcher Annemarie Iker ’12, the freshmen have settled in nicely with the team and will play a large part in their success this season.

“We’re all thrilled this year to have a fabulous freshman class,” she said. “They’ve already contributed on the mound, in the infield, the outfield and at the plate, and we look forward to what they’ll bring to the team in Florida and back up north after spring break. Most importantly, we’re a tight-knit group and the freshmen have fit in right away. They’ve all stepped up to the plate!”

With only 12 players this year and an especially demanding schedule, the Jeffs hope that training and endurance will help see them through the season. “We’ve prepared a lot for this season — ‘reps reps reps’ is our motto,” said Iker. “I’m excited to see how our training will pay off. Because we’re so small this year, there will be some challenges. I’m confident though — as our coach repeatedly says, we’re small but mighty!”