Lions hunting opposition

by Beacon Staff • April 12, 2006

The team devoured its opponents this past weekend by a margin of 28 to 2 in three games. After beating Newbury College on Saturday, they swept a double-header against Rivier College on Sunday.,The Emerson Lions softball team has been unbeatable-literally. Since March 9, the Lions have been on an 18-game winning streak.

The team devoured its opponents this past weekend by a margin of 28 to 2 in three games. After beating Newbury College on Saturday, they swept a double-header against Rivier College on Sunday.

The wins Sunday marked exactly a month since the team's last defeat.

During the winning streak, the team has been an offensive powerhouse.

"Everyone's bats are on. Everyone has the capability of going up [to the plate] and getting a hit," said sophomore second baseman Katie Hartman.

The Lions have averaged 10.5 runs a game while only giving up 1.5 runs against them.

One reason for the Lions' tremendous offensive output this season is the new approach to hitting the team has been using, said Head Coach Phil McElroy.

"We've used video," McElroy said. "One thing we've been doing is that we tape our players and have them watch their performance."

The problem in past years for the Lions has been adjusting to slower pitching, McElroy said.

"Last year, we had trouble with bad pitchers," Hartman said. "Phil [McElroy] has really helped us a lot with our hitting and discipline."

The new method of hitting seems to have worked out well for the squad. Lindsay DeStefano is leading the team in three offensive categories with a .440 average, six home runs, and four triples in 25 games this season.

Other offensive standouts include Bri Papa, who is leading the team with 27 RBIs and is second with four home runs. Hartman leads the team with 34 runs scored, and junior Jen Boyden leads the team with eight doubles and is second on the team with a .429 average.

In three games during the streak, the Lions have defeated opponents by 20 runs or more.

Another major reason for the team's success is its pitching staff.

The Lions have only given up 27 runs in the month-long streak, including six games in which the Lions have shut out opponents.

Senior pitcher and team captain Sara Collings has been putting batters to sleep all year long. She has an 11-1 record this year with a 1.04 earned-run average and 49 strikeouts.

Junior Heather Drobiarz and freshman Tricia Carrabba have also been stellar, with a combined 11-2 record and earned run averages under 2.

As for the defense: "It takes care of itself," McElroy said. He added that shortstop Catie McDonough, first baseman Brittany Cooke, second baseman Hartman and third baseman DeStefano were all recruited to play those positions.

The four new infielders have been solid, committing only 20 errors in 25 games this season. The entire team has a defensively sound .952 fielding percentage.

With an overall record of 22-3 and a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) record of 13-0 on the year, the Lions have been outstanding, playing fundamentally sound softball.

"We have a lot of talented kids," McElroy said in regard to the team's success. "[But] to be totally honest, we haven't played a bulk of good teams."

In the remaining two weeks of the regular season, the Lions will play double-headers against Western New England College and Suffolk University.

Both teams are also undefeated in the GNAC.

"The next two weeks should be a good test," Hartman said.