The Emerson softball team is entering the season with only two pitchers, one short of what it had originally planned for the spring, after junior Alexandra Magistro sustained an injury during a game over spring break in Florida.
Alicia Daniele, a pitcher and junior writing, literature, and publishing major, said Magistro’s injury is not a threat to the season, but could be problematic if other pitchers do not stay healthy.
“If someone else gets hurt, then it will become a problem, but right now we’re doing OK,” Daniele said.
Daniele has thrown 29.2 innings in six of the Lions’ first 10 games, and has a record of 1-3 with an ERA of 7.31.
The other softball teams in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference have a total average of four pitchers, according to their respective websites.
“[Having two pitchers] looks really hard on paper, but it’s actually very doable,” said junior marketing communication major Lauren Jacaruso. “The good thing about softball is that you don’t need a rotation, so pitchers can go multiple games in a row without it being too big of a deal.”
Jacaruso has played the past two seasons as an infielder and outfielder, but returned to her high school pitcher position for this season.
Head coach Phil McElroy said the reason players can throw consecutive days is that the softball throwing motion is physically safer than a baseball pitcher’s release.
“Softball pitching is a much more natural motion,” McElroy said. “It’s an underhand motion, so it has much less wear and tear than many other sports, so you can get away with having two or three pitchers.”
The Lions are coming off a strong pitching season, as the team ranked second in the GNAC with a combined ERA of 2.04 and combined total of 320 strikeouts, placing the team first in the conference.
Last year, the team had two fulltime pitchers and one pitcher-infielder.
However, during the team’s non-GNAC games over spring break in Florida, the Lions gave up an average of seven runs per game, and have a current overall record of 3-7.
“We played a lot of tough competition down there, and we really went up against some nationally-ranked teams,” McElroy said. “I don’t think it was our best pitching performance that we have ever had, but we had good moments, and that is what Florida is for — to figure things out so when we come back and play in the GNAC, we’ll play better.”
This is Emerson’s last season competing in the GNAC. The athletic program will start competing in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference this fall.
In the Lion’s last game, Emerson beat Marywood University 7-6. Clutch relief pitching by Jacaruso stopped the Pacers from extending their early six-run lead, allowing Emerson to rally late, scoring four runs in the top of the third, one run at the top of fourth, and two runs at the top of the seventh.
The softball team’s next game is a doubleheader against St. Joseph College on March 22.