The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Softball poised for rebound season after opening win

By Jack Wickham

Despite being relatively undermanned, the Macalester softball team has proven itself as a force to be reckoned with. In their first two games of the season, a double-header at the Rosemount Dome, the Scots split with Bethany Lutheran College, a liberal arts college in Mankato. The Scots won the first game 8-3 but lost the second 4-2. The performance was indicative of the team’s pitching strength. Pitcher Olivia Abbott ’10 led the effort, striking out 10 batters, and only walking two. Catcher Crystal Barriga ’10 also helped the Scots out a lot, leading the team with 11 putouts, more than half of the team’s total. The team’s offensive performance was also admirable: eight runs on eight hits, with six RBI.

In the second game, the Vikings came back to play a better game. While Macalester, as they did in the first game, only gave up seven hits to Bethany and only walked two Bethany players. Bethany registered 21 putouts and only five strikeouts, five less than they had had in the first matchup. The Vikings scored three runs in the first inning, and held their lead throughout the whole game.

Despite the loss, the Scots have no reason to fear the upcoming season. Though their record last year was a somewhat disappointing 10-24, they did hit some high points during the season. Those included beating Trinity College, a Division III school from the competitive NESCAC league, 12-10, and sweeping their doubleheader with St. Catherine’s.

The Scots are led largely by Barriga. Hailing from Bloomfield, Col., Barriga was the leader in most of the offensive statistics in the 2008 season. With a .407 batting average, a .436 on base percentage, and a total of 44 hits, Barriga was voted to the All-MIAC team, on which she had been voted honorable mention the year before. One of the best hitters in Macalester softball history, she set the school record for RBIs (39), and tied if for homeruns in 2008. Additionally, she finished last year’s campaign fifth in the MIAC for both RBIs and doubles.

Because of the loss of various players from last year, the team is trying new lineups.

“We lost a lot of our core outfield, so we’re doing a lot of shuffling and experimentation right now,” said Amanda Cagan ’10, an outfielder from Saratoga, Cal. “Our biggest challenge is going to be numbers. If one of us has an injury, we’re [in trouble].”

According to softball rules, there are nine players on the field every time the team is up on defense. Macalester’s team, with 11 women on the roster, could run into difficulties. Still, the team is used to playing with a small number of players, having had the same number of players last year. According to the women, this small size has actually contributed to a strong sense of team.

“We work well together,” Cagan said. “This is the first time we’ve felt that we are actually friends, especially compared to previous years. We hang out as a team on and off the field.”

After a game against the University of Minnesota-Morris on March 11, the women will have their next 10 games against various teams around the country over their spring break trip to Fort Myers, Fl. The first league game for the women will be against Gustavus Adolphus on March 28, which will be played at Macalester.

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