Teams prepare for 2017 fall ball season

by James Kwon / Beacon Correspondent • November 2, 2016

It’s seven in the morning at the dining hall, and the baseball team eats between yawns and remarks on the World Series. They just came from their 6 a.m. weight training session, which takes place twice a week. Nobody in their right mind would want to lift that early, but the team knows there’s work to be done. Their meal began their daily drive through the preseason.

While Emerson’s fall sports teams have been playing through their last few regular season games, the softball and baseball players have been working to improve in the offseason. Both teams are required to attend two early sessions a week, as well as additional individual lifting. The players also regularly work on their specific position skills.

Nothing soft about it

The softball team deals with the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference, one that junior Jillian Gearin calls “one of the toughest conferences in Division III softball.” Gearin said she saw glimpses of greatness when the young talent of the team stepped forward.

“Our freshman pitchers did really well in the preseason games,” Gearin said. “The team has the ability to do much better this year. Not only with the talent on the team, but with the morale on the team.”

Those same freshmen quickly adapted to the commitment of a collegiate sport, as freshman Mackenzie Blalock has already gotten into the rhythm of her preparations for the next big step in her softball career.

“We are responsible for practicing on our own, I practice at least twice a week,” Blalock said. “I have done a lot of hitting … I do something every day of the full week.”

Above hard work, the team values working together. Freshman Erin Nolan said she sees the strong bond they have as one of their main strengths.

“The team has a really good chemistry. On most of the softball teams I have played for in the past there has been a divide between two or three different parts of the team, and everyone had their friends,” Nolan said. “We are all really close and get along, and hang out outside of softball, so [I] think that will really translate well in the spring season.”

Baseball program looks to keep swinging

Junior captain Pablo Feldman said he is excited for the baseball team’s new mindset and improved work ethic to pay off in the season.

“We all have one common goal, and that’s to win,” Feldman said. “I see that in the weight room, everyone working really hard. I see that on the field, everyone working hard and everyone working together, which is the most important thing I think.”

The baseball team is coming off of two preseason scrimmages in which they saw many improvements defensively. Head coach Nick Vennochi spoke about these developments and what they mean for the team going forward.

“Our pitching and defense in those two games really were a great sign because those are the things that were really harped on this fall,” Vennochi said. “That’s where we are really going to be able to make our biggest strides. The offense is going to come, but if we are giving the other team free bases with errors or walks, we’re never going to have a chance.”

Feldman explained the team’s yearning for success, and identified hard work as the main contributor to any wins they might have.

“Honestly when it comes down to it, it’s about winning, and it’s about what shows on the scoreboard, and that’s our goal this year,” Feldman said. “Win as many games as possible and that’s what we are working towards every day in the weight room and on the field, is W’s in the scorebook.”

The team has unofficially adopted the phrase “burn the ships.” Vennochi explained how the quote sums up the team’s mentality about the upcoming season.

“No retreats and no surrender,” Vennochi said. “It’s a Cortez quote, it’s on the back of our fall uniforms … we need to get that mantra. There’s really one way and that’s to go through the hard stuff and stay together.”