Softball facing key GNAC stretch

Article by: Alex Mellion

The Suffolk women’s softball team has had a rough first half of the season, posting just two wins in their first 20 games. The team began the season March 12 with an eight-day trip to California which included ten games against various teams from around the country, all ten of which were losses.

Despite the west coast struggles, head coach Keri Lemasters saw positive signs from her team.

“It was a positive trip, we played the toughest competition I have seen in the last five years with Suffolk and we faced some unbelievable pitchers,” she said in an email. “By the end of the week, the strike out totals were down and we were making good contact.  Unfortunately, the hits were just not finding holes.”

The silver lining to the Lady Rams’ slow start is the fact that their two wins have both come against GNAC opponents (St Joseph’s of Connecticut and Mount Ida), which should bode well for the second half of their season.  The Rams currently sit in 10th place in the conference, and have several key games coming up against the upper echelon of the GNAC conference, games that could make or break the rest of the team’s season.

“The toughest part of our schedule is coming up this weekend,” said Lemasters. “I’m hoping to have a good showing offensively and defensively.”

Lemasters went on to cite the youth of this Lady Rams team, which features eight players who are either freshmen or sophomores.

“Each game is a learning experience and they have shown signs of improvement,” she said. “So hopefully the second half of the season there is a dramatic increase in softball knowledge and game skills that will help our chances of getting into the play-offs and then being successful in post-season play.”

Leading the way offensively for the Rams have been senior Valerie Liberatore and sophomore Clara Conklin.  Liberatore leads the team with a .442 batting average and Conklin leads the team with six home runs and 18 RBIs.  The pitching staff has been solid as well, with sophomores Liz Galvin, Carissa Roche and Brooke Hirschfield leading the way.

Despite the slow start, the team will have plenty of time to make up ground, as 16 of the Lady Rams’ final 20 games are against GNAC opponents.