Pilgrims Poised for Playoffs in 2008
New England College softball finished their 2007 campaign with an overall record of 14-23 and finished 12-10 in The Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC.) The Pilgrims entered the TCCC Tournament as the #5 seed and advanced to the double elimination portion of the tournament by beating Nichols College in the play-in but fell in hard fought battles against Curry and UNE in the second round of the tournament ending their season.
Eighth year head coach Carrah Fisk-Hennessey will have a veteran crew returning losing just two players to graduation last season. NEC’s top returners include senior centerfielder Liz Ross. Ross (W. Hartford, Conn.) was named to the TCCC 2nd Team All-Conference in 2007. Ross anchored the Pilgrim defense playing in 35 games and having a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. At the plate Ross hit .303 for the season including 17 runs scored and 18 runs batted in. Helping out Ross in the outfield will be senior Amanda Lester (Columbia, Conn.) Lester led the team in batting hitting .336 last season with a team-high 22 runs scored. Lester will also see time behind the plate this season as she finished last season with an impressive .972 fielding percentage. In addition to Ross and Lester, junior Jessica Chisholm (Stoughton, Mass.) will see time in the outfield. Chisholm finished second on the team in batting last season hitting .333 with 10 runs scored and 10 runs batted in.
In the infield the Pilgrims return TCCC Honorable Mention All-Conference second baseman Alex Sacco. Sacco (Tewksbury, MA) played in all 37 games for the Pilgrims finishing with a batting average of .319 with 20 runs scored and 14 runs batted in. Also returning in the infield with be junior Sam Hallam (Warwick, R.I.) who finished last season hitting .297 with 16 runs scored and junior Sierra Thibeault (Brunswick, Maine) who hit .278 last season with nine runs batted in.
On the mound for the Pilgrims this season will be sophomore Kristen Purdy (Candia, N.H.) Purdy pitched in 12 games last season finishing with a record of 2-4. Purdy hit an impressive .333 as a first-year player last season including a team-high eight homeruns. Junior Deanna Brayton (Queensbury, N.Y.) will also pitch for the Pilgrims this season. Brayton pitched in 14 games for NEC last season finishing with a record of 2-7. Brayton will make a huge impact at the plate as well for the Pilgrims finishing last season with six homeruns and a team-high 26 runs batted in.
The Pilgrims will look to a talented group of incoming first-year players to make an immediate impact. Newcomers Bethany Forshaw (Waterford, Conn.,) Melinda Robbins (Oxford, Mass.,) Katie Griffin (Lawrence, Mass.) and Rachel White (Arlington, Mass.) may all see time on the mound for NEC this spring. In addition first-year players Colby Grant (Lynn. Mass.,) Jennifer Cloutier (Gorham, N.H.) and Kim Byrwa (Deptford, N.J.) will be used as utility players.
NEC will open their 2008 campaign in sunny Cocoa Beach, Fl. throughout the week of March 9-14. The Pilgrims will play their home-opener on Tuesday, April 1 when they host TCCC opponent Wentworth Institute of Technology at 3:00 p.m.