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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Softball Pre-Season Roundup

The women´s softball team has been pumping iron since September. - Photo by Tony Naro
The women´s softball team has been pumping iron since September. – Photo by Tony Naro

If you look at the UMB softball team’s win-loss record from last season, 8-19-1, you may be deceived. The team looked like your usual last place team and was not perceived to be a threat to the leading conference teams. However, within the conference, which coach Gretchen Randall describes as an “unbelievably tough conference,” the Beacons have made amazing progress. “Last season we saw the first real sign of a turnaround,” said coach Randall. Although UMass Boston has never been known for a great softball program, one must keep in mind the teams they played in their conference. One went to the NCAA tournament and five went to the ECAC tournament, with one of those five teams winning it all.

The Beacons had only two main pitchers, which is not too unusual for softball teams, but unlike some other teams in the conference there were no big winners for UMB, a major setback in a sport where the most important position is that of pitcher. With the exception of pitching, last season the team was great defensively with only 58 errors. It also dominated offensively with three more home runs than opponents and eight more doubles.

This season the Beacons will have three of their top four hitters-Kristen Smoyer, Sioban Lynch, and Stacy Peterson. Smoyer ended the season with a .402 batting average and Lynch had a high .739 slugging percentage with eight home runs and seven doubles. The coach described Peterson as “the most consistent hitter” who would have a batting average higher than .316 if she hadn’t made so many sacrifice bunts in the beginning of the season. Peterson and the coach often joke about her hitting, saying that “she’ll never hit a double but will always get at least a single.” Peterson is described as a tough batter to face who hates to strike out; she only struck out last season seven times.

Compared to last season, coach Randall says the team looks really good. “We have better pitching this year, our defense is leaps and bounds ahead of last season, and we have two of three big bats returning. We’re expecting a lot this season.” It’s hard for the coach to determine how much they will be missing Kristen Bowes at shortstop since they have both Andrea Ciarletta and Jenn Murray from the women’s ice hockey team coming to play for the team this semester. “They are both great athletes,” commented Randall.

The team will be traveling to Orange, California during spring break for an eight-game series against what the coach called, “Some of the most difficult teams we’ll face this season.” These games will be an excellent opportunity for the team to experiment with players at different positions as well as prepare them for playing against high caliber teams that are in their division this season.

When asked about how the team will be rated by other conference coaches before the season starts, Randall said she expected the team to be ranked eighth out of eight teams. “I actually hope they put us down there. It will make for a better shock when we come out stronger than they expected. We can’t wait to be spoilers this season!”