Softball looking to claw their way back into the playoffs
New England College softball finished their 2008 campaign with an overall record of 10-24 and a Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC) record of 8-16. The Pilgrims picked up key wins over conference leaders Western New England College and Nichols College late in the season but fell short of the playoffs finishing the season tied for ninth in the conference standings.
Ninth-year head coach Carrah Fisk-Hennessey will have huge shoes to fill losing two all-conference athletes to graduation. The Pilgrims will be without four-year catcher Amanda Lester, who now serves as an assistant coach. Lester was named TCCC First Team All-Conference as a utility player last season. At the plate Lester finished the season with a .346 batting average and led the team in doubles with 10 and was second on the team in runs batted in finishing the season with 20. In addition to Lester the Pilgrims will have to be without center fielder Liz Ross who graduated last spring. Ross was named to the TCCC Honorable Mention Team. Ross anchored the Pilgrim defense playing in 32 of NEC’s 34 games and finishing with a fielding percentage of .969. At the plate Ross hit .311 for the season including a team-high 27 runs scored and 19 stolen bases.
Fisk-Hennessey does have a great veteran core, including three seniors. NEC’s top returners include senior infielder Alexandria Sacco. Last season Sacco (Tewksbury, Mass.) saw the bulk of her time at the shortstop position finishing the season second on the team with eight doubles and hit .318 with 21 runs scored and 16 runs batted in. Helping out Sacco in the infield will be senior Sierra Thibeault. Thibeault (Brunswick, Maine) played in all 34 games for the Pilgrims last season seeing time at numerous positions, including first base, third base and catcher. Thibeault finished the season hitting .232 with 13 runs scored and 11 runs batted in. In addition to Sacco and Thibeault, senior Deanna Brayton (Queensbury, N.Y) will make an impact both in the outfield and on the mound for NEC. Brayton finished last season second on the team in batting average hitting .329 in 34 games for the Pilgrims, including two triples and scored 12 runs.
Seeing time on the corners for the Pilgrims will be returning sophomore Bethany Forshaw (Waterford, Conn.) who hit an impressive .315 last season, sophomore Rachel White (Arlington, Mass.,) sophomore Melinda Robbins (Oxford, Mass.) and junior Kristen Purdy (Candia, N.H.) The Pilgrims also welcome junior Mary Roux (Auburn, Mass.) to the team. Roux has been a member of both the field hockey and ice hockey teams at NEC and will look to contribute to the Pilgrim attack. Junior transfer Megan McDevitt (Newport, N.H.) also joins the team and will be used as both a pitcher and an outfielder.
The Pilgrims will look to a talented group of incoming first-year players to make an immediate impact. Newcomers Emma Duguay (Berlin, N.H.) and Teraysa White (Belgrade, Maine) may see time on the mound for NEC this spring. In addition first-year players Brittany Fitzpatrick (N. Reading, Mass.,) Stephanie Freitag (Lakeville, Mass.), Danielle Harris (Canann, Vt.) and Chelsea Torrico (Mt. Washington, Mass.) will be used as utility players.