The Castleton Sate College Spartan softball team will go into battle with an offensive attack this season, head coach Meaghan Brown said in an interview last week.The Spartans, who lost in the NAC quarterfinal game last May, did not have enough offense last season, according to Brown. The team combined to hit for a .313 batting average, but Brown said that isn’t quite high enough.
She is optimistic, however, that this season her team can attack opponents more effectively by playing small ball and therefore improve its offensive numbers.
“This year is going to be different,” said coach Brown. “We have a lot of potential.”
Seven players from last season are returning to aid Brown in her quest to attack opponents. Among those are batting-average leaders Rachel Hunt, Rachel Dunn, Alicia Zraunig, and Lindsey McGinness, who all posted averages above .333.
Also returning are experienced starting pitchers Laura Rogers and Angie Carpenter. Rogers led the team last season with a 3.98 ERA and a 5-2 win-loss record, while Carpenter chipped in with a 5-4 record and a 5.70 ERA.
One thing the Spartans are assured of this season is that they will have plenty of opportunities to produce their offensive numbers.
The NAC has implemented a new rule in which each team must play all the other teams in the conference. This means that the Spartans will take part in 38 regular season games this season as opposed to 24 last season.
Siobhan Whittemore, one of eight freshmen on the team, says that it is a big leap to go from playing 16 games in high school to almost 40 games in college.
“It’s shocking,” said Whittemore. “Every game is also a double header. That’s another thing you have to think about as a player.”
McGinness, a junior catcher on the team, admits the amount of games is intimidating, but she doesn’t think it is anything to worry about.
“We’ll just have to take it day by day,” she said.
Carpenter agreed with McGinness, saying the team will deal with the new rule.
“Our goal is to be tougher, mentally and physically, than the other teams,” she said.
The Spartans will head into the 38-game-long marathon as the number four ranked team in the preseason poll, which is conducted among all head coaches in the division.
This ranking doesn’t seem to bother the ladies, their coach, or their plan to battle it out with every opponent.
“I think we are going to be a lot better than [our ranking],” said Brown. “In our conference, anybody can be beat.