In final year, softball seniors aim for title

by Evan Sporer / Beacon Staff • April 14, 2011

For Lynn Herman, Sierra Wood, and Jilisa Rawding, April 26, 2009 seems like yesterday.

The three softball players said they remember it as a warm and beautiful day. The Lions had traveled to Newton, Mass., a short ride from Emerson’s campus, to take on Saint Joseph’s (Maine) in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference softball final.

With the Lions down to their final out, Bridgett Farago drove in Rawding, and Emerson captured the 2009 GNAC Championship.

The moment represented a transition for the three players. Herman, Wood, and Rawding were no longer simply teammates — they were now champions.

The following year, Emerson found itself in a similar situation.

This time the place and opponent were different — the Lions were in Nashua, N.H. to take on Rivier College. But unlike that day in 2009, the Lions came up short, losing to the Raiders in eight innings.

Lightning didn’t strike twice for the Lions then, but 2011 represents one last chance for the team’s lone seniors, Wood, Herman, and Rawding, to recapture what they had as sophomores, and end on top of the GNAC world.

The Lions are currently in second place in the GNAC with a record of 10-2, two games behind Simmons College. Still, the seniors said they feel confident in their chances, and they’re not shy in talking about it.

Herman and Wood are roommates on the fifth floor of the Colonial dorm building, and with Rawding usually nearby, more often than not, softball is the topic of conversation between the trio.

“When you’re around each other so much, living together and practicing together, it’s hard not to talk about softball,” said Herman. “But with three different people, you could have three different interpretations of games. It’s really helpful.”

After living together for three years, and being teammates for four years, Wood, Rawding, and Herman said they know each other’s tendencies on and off the field.

“I know [Sierra] is going to throw the ball in the air after the third strike of the third out of the inning,” said Rawding, who plays second base for the Lions.

While this season Herman roams the outfield and plays designated hitter for the Lions, last year she also pitched. In the short time that she did toe the rubber, Wood was her catcher, and both Wood and Rawding said they noticed certain tics about Herman that would indicate when she was angry in the pitcher’s circle.

“She would flip her ponytail,” Rawding said. “And she would take laps around the mound.”

Rawding also said she has learned that much of what her teammates do on the field, they also do off of it.

“I can look at Sierra and tell if she’s mad. She has the same face if she’s struggling to register for courses or playing softball,” Rawding said.

Now attuned to each other’s tendencies on and off the field, these three seniors said they know how much another championship would mean to their legacy.

But success is nothing new to these three softball players.

Herman won the World Series of softball at age 10 in Disney, Fla. while playing for the Diamond Dusters. She is from Boca Raton, Fla., where she said she was able to watch her two older sisters play softball and fell in love with the game.

“It’s always been part of my life,” Herman said. “Doing homework on the way to practice. Going to dances with blood on my knees because I slid that day. It’s just how it’s always been.”

Wood, a Torrance, Calif. native, said she got her start watching the Los Angeles Dodgers with her father. Rawding, who hails from Tewksbury, Mass. said she’s been playing since she was eight.

And while softball has been the constant between these three, other details have, and will continue to, change.

Herman will stay on the ballfield — only she will make the leap to the professional level. The broadcast journalism major said she currently works as an ambassador for the Boston Red Sox, dealing with fan relations. Next season, she said she will be a ball girl during games. Rawding will join her in Boston, working with Emerson’s television station this summer.

Wood, a visual and media arts major, said she will return home to California and hopes to find work as a screenwriter.

While they’re still in Boston, the three have high hopes for their softball future while still thinking about their past.

“We always talk to this day about how that’s the best season; everything came together so organically,” Wood said. “We talk about how we can replicate that 2009 season.”

Herman echoed her teammate’s confidence.

“The key is not playing down to any teams,” she said. “There’s no reason we should lose any games in the GNAC. We have a target on us. Teams try to beat Emerson.”