The softball team opens its season Saturday Feb. 4 with a doubleheader against West Georgia Technical College. Last season the Eagles went a stellar 41-4-1 en route to a University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship (8-0 UAA). The softball team was ranked No. 2 entering the Salisbury Regional at the NCAA Division III Championships but was eliminated in back-to-back losses to Christopher Newport University (Va.) and Rowan University (N.J.).
“Last year was such a great year,” Head Coach Penny Siqueiros said. “I would think the expectations for this year would be to leave last year’s record behind yet take the experience from from last year and carry it over into this year.”
Gone are fifth year student and outfielder Brittany Boeshore, infielder Nicole Perez (’11B) and catcher Zara Louy (’11B). Boeshore earned Academic All-America honors and hit .326 in her final season.
“We will definitely miss the seniors who graduated last year but we have a lot of talent in our freshman class,” senior captain Jessica Boni said.
Three All-Americans from last year are returning: senior slugger Jessica Thomas, senior starting pitcher Bridget Holloway and sophomore Megan Light. Thomas set a school record with 11 homers last season, hitting at a .367 clip, while Holloway went 18-1 with a 1.46 ERA despite missing time due to a rib injury Light, the only team member to play in all 46 Emory games as a hard-hitting freshman, led the UAA in hitting at .449.
Slated to start Saturday are Thomas in left field, sophomore Lauren Gorodetsky in center, freshman Brooke Healey in right, Light at first base, sophomore Claire Bailey at second base, sophomore Sophia Tarte at shortstop, Ally Kersthold at third base and Boni at catcher. Thomas and Holloway are the two other team captains.
“The fellow captains and I try to keep the team positive and focus on taking it inning-by-inning, pitch-by-pitch,” Holloway said.
Healey will be the only freshman in the opening day starting lineup.
“Brooke’s a former All-State player in high school. Good deal of talent, very competitive,” Siqueiros said.
The pitching staff remains the same as last season. Holloway and sophomore Lena Brottman will lead the pitching staff as co-aces for a second straight year.
A freshman last year, Brottman went 16-3 in a team-high 21 starts. She occasionally pitched twice in the same day.
“We have the same staff we had last years,” Brottman said. “There’s no freshman pitcher. We worked together last year, and we’ve been working really hard this offseason. We all balance each other well, and we’re all excited to shut them down this season.”
Senior Jaclyn Jacobi and her crafty junk ball style rounds out the starting staff.
The versatile Jacobi is also the resident firewoman, emerging from the bullpen to squelch out rallies.
“We look forward to getting Brottman and Holloway back for a lot of innings,” Siqueiros said. “Jaclyn Jacobi is a very key component to our pitching staff. She helped us out in some key situations last year where she was able to shut down a batter or work through an entire lineup. You’ll never know when you’ll need her, but she’s ready to go.”
Junior Jamie Melson and sophomore Amanda Kardys complete the pitching staff, providing a crucial lefty complement to the other right handers.
“Amanda and Jamie are both lefties,” Holloway said. “It’s really good to have a couple of them on the team The movement on their pitchers is different then what we have as right handed pitchers.”
So with the roster set, all that is left is to play ball. Holloway and Brottman are slated to start Saturday at Cooper Field.
First pitch against West Georgia Technical College is at 12 p.m., and the second game is to start at 2 p.m.
— Contact Vincent Xu