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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2014 Softball season gets underway

Michelle+Zullo+during+pre-game+warm-ups
Michelle Zullo during pre-game warm-ups

Coming off of an average 2013 campaign, the Beacons Women’s Softball team comes into a new season with one goal in mind: win.

Upon returning from their annual season opening trip to Florida during Spring Break, the Beacons found themselves at 2–5, but, as junior ace Michelle Zullo put it, the team knows it can and will be better. “The Little East Conference is wide open, and anyone can win it this year,” Zullo says. “We’re just keeping that in mind.”
Despite the sub-par record from the Florida trip, the team can certainly use the experience as something that can make them a better team down the road. The Beacons faced some tough competition down south, which included the nation’s top-ranked team in Tufts, but were able to pull off victories over The College of New Jersey and Trinity College.
“We all know we could have done better,” Zullo said of the trip.
“We played some pretty tough teams down there… toward the end we really started getting together and working together.”
Zullo was very quick to point out one of her teammates that could really have strong seasons this year and perhaps even carry the squad.
“One of our freshmen, Kaitlyn Morse, used to be an outfielder and we needed a shortstop so we moved her in there and since then she’s been incredible. Through the first four games she was hitting around .400,” said Zullo
Aside from Morse, the Beacons will look to senior third baseman Erika Vecchiet and junior left fielder Kristina Bove to pick up the offensive slack. Through their first 11 games, Bove and Vecchiet are ranked second and third on the team in batting average, hitting .370 and .310, respectively.
The team will also be led by senior outfielders Natalia Bouyea and Toni Scola (who also plays third). The pitching staff, which is made up of Zullo and her teammates, sophomore Emily Gray and freshman Jillian Shepherd, look to give the Beacons some depth and dependability on the mound this season.
Very rarely are there three pitchers on the team’s roster, but Zullo sees this as something that can really be helpful.
“This is the first year we’ve had three pitchers. We usually have two and both [pitchers] would get a start because we do doubleheaders, but this year it’s cool because one of us can start, and one can come in relief, and one of us can be ready for the next game.”
The team of course is coached by Natalia Ardagna, who is now in her seventh season. Last year, she led the squad to their program-record third straight appearance in the Little East Conference Tournament. Two years prior, she helped steer the Beacons to a program-best 24 victories in 2011.
For Zullo in particular, she is looking to improve on a tough 2013 campaign. After working with a new pitching coach along with hard work, Zullo feels as if she can do just that.
“I’ve practiced all winter to make each pitch more effective, especially the breaking pitches, and working on speed too. Last year I had a rough season, a sophomore slump, so I try to get better each year. My pitching coach of 12 years retired so I had to go to a new one and I loved her. She made me work harder than I ever have before. I’ve put [last season] behind me, but I still kind of remember it because I don’t want it to happen again.”
Going into the rest of the season, the Beacons will look to improve on leaving less runners on base and live up to their motto of “win every inning.” As of April 2, the team stands at 5–10, but are coming off their first ever win over a Nationally-ranked team, a 7–5 win over #25 Wheaton College. A day later, the team defeated Suffolk to help Coach Ardagna win her 100th career game at UMass Boston. Once this team gets going, they truly can be fun to watch.