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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Beacons Softball Opens Season in Florida

Freshman+Kaera+Wyse+pitching+for+the+Beacons+in+Florida
Freshman Kaera Wyse pitching for the Beacons in Florida

After a busy week of competing in the National Training Center Spring Games in Clermont, Fla. over spring break, the University of Massachusetts Boston softball team arrived back to campus with more questions than answers, but there is still hope for a solid season.

Following a 7-4 loss to The College of New Jersey, it’s season-opener on March 15, the Beacons bounced back to earn their first win of the season with a 13-2 defeat over Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham later that evening. Although the victory over the Devils gave the team a spark, the remainder of UMass Boston’s time in the Sunshine State was not as bright.

Over the next four days the Beacons played six games in Clermont, losing each of them to return to Boston with a 1-7 record on the young season. The team was supposed to return to the diamond on March 26 with a road trip to Bridgewater State University where they’d face the Bears for a doubleheader, though those games were cancelled due to the poor playing conditions.

There is no doubt UMass Boston is eager to return to action after its disappointing start to the season, however gaining a few extra days before traveling to Wheaton College for a doubleheader on Tuesday isn’t the worst thing that could happen for the Beacons.

The team’s pitching staff—senior Michelle Zullo, junior Emily Gray, and freshman Kaera Wyse—could likely use the break after a busy first week of the year. Gray saw the most work of the three in Florida, as the junior hurled 21 1/3 innings in her four appearances, three of which were starts.

Although Gray was able to pitch two complete-game performances, the New Bedford native couldn’t find her rhythm in the first week of the season, as she allowed 22 earned runs.

Despite earning the win against FDU-Florham with a complete-game performance in which she surrendered only two runs, Zullo took a step back in the games later in the week. The Everett native allowed 12 hits and 12 runs—nine of which were earned—in her next outing, a 13-7 loss to Worcester State University on March 16.

Following a day off on St. Patrick’s Day, the senior returned to the mound against MCLA the next day, though Zullo would struggle again in her third start where she allowed 8 runs (6 earned) in the Beacons’ 8-0 loss.

MCLA was the only team which kept UMass Boston’s bats silent, as the Beacons registered 39 runs in their first eight games. Samantha Hemstock, who serves as the team’s catcher and a utility-player in her senior year, has been outstanding at the dish. Hemstock hit a team-best .464 with three doubles, four RBIs, and eight runs scored on the week.

The senior wasn’t the only one with a hot bat. Sophomore Kaitlyn Morse hit .375 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Not only did the Arlington native thrive at the plate, but Morse was also a threat on the bases—where she stole three of the eight bases UMass Boston took over the week.

Junior Haley Dutton and sophomore Lauren Mitsiaris also proved to be tough outs in the early part of the season, as the duo combined for nine RBIs after hitting .333 and .348, respectively. Mitsiaris was one of only two members on the Beacons to hit homeruns, as senior Kristina Bove went yard in her 2-for-3 day against the Devils.

Assuming the weather cooperates this week, UMass Boston will have its hands full with a busy week on the diamond. After playing two games against the Lyons on Tuesday, the Beacons will try to play the makeup games for Thursday’s cancelled doubleheader at Bridgewater State University. The stretch of six games in five days will come to a close on April 4, as the team will travel to Eastern Connecticut State University for a doubleheader in Mansfield, Conn.

Even though the trip to Florida did not pan out exactly how UMass Boston had hoped it would throughout the offseason, the Beacons have demonstrated they have the abilities to make the 2015 season a special one.