Brittany Rochford has been a leadoff hitter since high school. Her stats — though she refuses to see them during the season — show that these years of practice have paid off, as she now leads the Emerson softball team in hits and walks.
According to Great Northeast Athletic Conference statistics, Rochford led the league last year in runs, hits, base on balls, batting average, and on-base-percentage. She was also appointed to the First Team All Conference for the 2012 season.
Rochford this season has 26 hits, ranking her fifth in the GNAC. She also ranks in the top 10 in runs scored, total at bats, runs batted in and base on balls.
Head coach Phil McElroy said the team relies on her for offensive production and depends on her management of the field.
“We expect a lot of leadership from her as a center fielder,” McElroy said. “We typically rely on her as somebody who can get on base for us and someone who can also knock in some runs for us. She can also be a power hitter at times as well, but she has just been a solid returning player for us this year.”
Rochford, who has been a lead-off hitter for the team, but now hits in the heart of the lineup, said she is always critical of her own performance and strives to find new ways to expand her game.
“I am never really satisfied with any of my performances,” Rochford, a visual and media arts major, said. “I focus mostly on finding new ways to improve my game, that’s just how my brain works. I’m never too analytical and I don’t constantly look for fault, but there is something I can always do better.”
Rochford also said that she does not pay close attention to statistics, but rather focuses on the game at hand.
“I don’t really think about it that much,” Rochford said. “Every single time I get up to the plate, my objective is to get on base or advance a runner, and other than that, nothing else matters.”
Rochford is also key in terms of the team’s success. In games Emerson has won, she has a batting average of .500. In games that the team has lost, she has an average of .233, according to statistics on the Emerson Athletic Department’s website.
The softball team currently has an 11-9 record, and is 8-0 in conference play.
Annie Jenkins, a sophomore journalism major and an outfielder for the Lions, said that their recent success is attributed to a strong sense of confidence and consistency on the team.
“When we start hitting the ball, everyone gets hot all at the same time,” Jenkins said. “Everything starts clicking, and we gain all the momentum and never give it back.”
Emerson will face GNAC teams in every game for the remainder of the season, including undefeated Norwich University and last year’s second place team Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.
The Lions’ next game is scheduled for April 5 at Lasell College.
Ryan Catalani, Beacon staff, contributed reporting.