BABSON PARK, Mass.—Coming off a 2017 campaign that featured a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament championship and a trip to the NCAA super regionals, the Babson College softball program has high expectations entering 2018.
Head coach Dave Canan enters his 19th season at the helm with 13 players back from a team that finished 33-16 overall last spring. The Beavers return their top two pitchers and eight players that started 30 or more games, four of which hit better than .300 last season.
SUCCESS STARTS IN THE CIRCLE
Senior Ali Reilly (New Canaan, Conn.) and sophomore Brooke Stock (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) combined to hold opposing hitters to just a .239 average while recording 271 strikeouts in 342 innings of work. Reilly, who is just six wins shy of the program's all-time record, went 17-7 with a 2.50 ERA and eight shutouts, while Stock finished 16-9 with a 2.76 earned run average to go along with six shutouts. The duo is joined by sophomore Katie Gademsky (Hillsborough, N.J.), who missed all of last season due to injury.
Junior Josephine Mares (Houston, Texas), the Beavers' lone all-conference returner, started 42 games last season and led the team in batting average (.348), on-base percentage (.425), walks (17) and triples (3) from the leadoff spot. She also tied for second on the team in hits (47) and runs scored (24) to go along with eight doubles and 13 runs batted in.
EXPERIENCE AROUND THE INFIELD
Babson brings back four starters in the infield led by senior Samantha Smith (Hillsborough, N.J.). A three-year starter, she hit .304 in 2017 with nine doubles and a career-high 26 RBI in 49 games. Junior third baseman Ashley Tango (Reading, Mass.), who was the only player to start all 49 contests last spring, smacked a team-high 11 doubles and drove 23 runs while finishing with a .308 average at the dish. Sophomore first baseman Jacqueline Paul (Burlington, N.J.) recorded eight extra-base hits and 20 RBI to go along with her .983 field percentage, and classmate Annie Mitchell (Rehoboth, Mass.) batted .242 with 13 RBI and 17 runs scored in 37 starts at shortstop.
COVERING GROUND IN THE OUTFIELD
In addition to Mares, sophomores Kayla Schinik (Watchung, N.J.) and Victoria Casey (Emerson, N.J.) both saw action in more than 35 games in 2017. Schinik, who tied for the team lead with three outfield assists, hit .292 and led the squad with 12 sacrifice hits, while Casey batted .311 with seven extra-base hits and 16 RBI.
IN GOOD HANDS BEHIND THE PLATE
The Green and White enters the 2018 campaign with tremendous depth at catcher as sophomore Tori Roche (Andover, Mass.) was pressed into action when junior Annie Quine (Santa Monica, Calif.) went down with an injury in mid-April of last season. A 2016 All-NEWMAC selection, Quine batted .323 with eight extra-base hits, and threw out 5-of-12 baserunners despite missing 15 games during the second half of the year. Roche was terrific in her place, batting .287 with four doubles and five RBI in 30 games as a rookie.
READY WHEN CALLED UPON
Babson's depth extends to it bench, which features four veterans that have all performed in big spots during their time with the program. Senior Erica Pavlo (Coconut Creek, Fla.) appeared in 14 games last season and leads the Beavers six hits as a pinch hitter over the last two years. Classmate Nicole Civello (Huntington Station, N.Y.) appeared in a career-high 21 contests last spring, which includes 14 starts in the infield, while smacking one double and scoring six runs. Junior Alex Corrigan (Middletown, N.J.) made six starts at first base, recording 34 putouts, while classmate Allison King (Kennebunk, Maine) came through with a pair of pinch-hit singles in 2017.
OBSTACLES ALONG THE WAY
In addition to opening the year against six of the top teams in the country at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, Babson will play one of the toughest schedules in the region this season. The Beavers will face 17 opponents that won at least 21 games last year, which includes doubleheaders against UMass Boston, Framingham State, WPI and Springfield – all off which posted at least 29 victories in 2017.