BABSON PARK, Mass.—Coming off a 28-win campaign that included a pair of wins in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament, the Babson College softball squad is intent on becoming one of the region's best teams in 2017.
Under the direction of 18th-year head coach Dave Canan, the Beavers return 13 players from a team that went 28-15 overall and finished fourth in the NEWMAC last spring. Included in that group are five of the squad's top seven hitters from a year ago, and junior Ali Reilly (New Canaan, Conn.), who earned all-conference first-team honors in the circle.
Reilly went 18-10 overall with a 2.14 earned run average and 104 strikeouts in 173.2 innings in 2016. She tossed 19 complete games and recorded six shutouts in 25 starts. Joining her on the NEWMAC all-conference team is sophomore catcher Annie Quine (Santa Monica, Calif.), who batted .410 with 15 doubles and a team-high 34 runs batted in as a rookie.
Junior Samantha Smith (Hillsborough, N.J.) returns to anchor the infield after hitting .381 with 15 doubles, 24 RBI and a team-high 39 runs scored along with sophomore Ashley Tango (Reading, Mass.), who batted .322 with 13 extra-base hits and 29 RBI in 39 starts at -third base as a rookie. Senior Catherine Pitts (Winchester, Mass.) hit .273 in 32 contests, while juniors Erica Pavlo (Coconut Creek, Fla.) and Nicole Civello (Huntington Station, N.Y.) saw action in 17 and 16 games, respectively, and add depth to the Babson infield.
The Beavers bring back a pair of corner outfielders in sophomore Josephine Mares (Houston, Texas) and senior Leslie Moore (Atkinson, N.H.). Mares hit .360 with eight extra-base hits and 31 runs scored in 39 games, while Moore batted .343 with eight extra-base hits and 20 RBI before missing the final 10 contests of the year due to injury.
Senior Meaghan Merullo (Winchester, Mass.), who saw the majority of her time at designated player last year, smacked seven doubles and tied for the team lead in walks (10), while classmate Shannon Kortmann (Manalapan, N.J.) started 19 games in the outfield and was error-free in 31 chances.
"I think the preseason has been very productive," said Canan. "We've incorporated eight new players into the program and they have meshed very well with our returners. We have more depth at every position than we have had in the past, and we're hoping to continue the success that we had towards the end of last season."
The Beavers will play the first of 12 games in Florida when they take on Gordon Friday at 10:30 a.m.