COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College softball team returns a veteran corps that figures to occupy nearly every starting spot this season, and 16th-year head coach Robyn Newton expects to employ every player on the short roster in various roles as the spring moves forward.
"Being a small team, I feel like we're going to utilize everyone in all different capacities, whether it's pinch hitting, pinch running, sharing innings, sharing games or sharing doubleheaders," said Newton. "We're very happy to have three pitchers. We're going to utilize all three of them in Florida. We feel like they're all unique, so you might see all three of them in the same game."
Newton is joined by third-year assistant coach Angela Boyer and a pair of volunteer assistants in Meg Currier '07, who is back for her ninth year, and Olivia Leclerc '12, now in her third. After a challenging start to 2015, when the green pitching staff lent only 6.2 prior career innings and numerous position players earned their first extensive playing time, nine of the Purple Knights' final 22 games were decided by four runs or fewer. Both of their wins were 1-0, extra-inning affairs during a three-day stretch in mid-April, including one against eventual NCAA Tournament qualifier Saint Anselm College. Saint Michael's finished 2-29 overall and 2-19 in Northeast-10 Conference play.
Newton counts 10 returners from last year's squad, including nine who were regulars in the lineup, while six newcomers dot the roster. "We need to figure out the right combination, but it's pretty much the same team," said Newton, who has drilled the team on offense this preseason after rolling out a strong defense a year ago. "They were young last year, so we have juniors and seniors now in the field that have been playing together for a while, and that's kind of nice."
The Purple Knights begin the season with a 10-game trip to The Spring Games in Clermont, Fla., kicking off action on Thursday. NE-10 play starts on March 25 at Bentley University, and the top four teams from each of the league's two divisions qualify for the conference tournament, which begins on April 26. Five of the Purple and Gold's foes this year qualified for the 2015 NCAA Tournament, including Adelphi University and Pace University, which it faces during its home-opening weekend on April 2-3.
"I feel like we're right where we need to be, but it's hard to tell - we're inside," said Newton of early-season practices in the Tarrant Recreation Center. "We need to be outside, that's the next step."
- Judi Barcavage (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane), 1st base | captain | 31 starts | 18 hits | 11 RBIs | 4 doubles | 4 multi-hit games | 1 home run | ended 2015 on a five-game hitting streak
- Jacqui Cronan (Danvers, Mass./Danvers), outfielder | 1st year of college softball | team manager in 2014 and 2015
- Danielle DelGreco (Lexington, Mass./Lexington), outfielder/3rd base | captain | 31 starts | 21 hits | 11 runs (team leader) | 7 doubles | 5 multi-hit games | 8 pitching appearances | 16.2 innings pitched | 12 strikeouts
- Jenna Maksian (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury), 3rd base | captain | 23 games | 18 starts | 3 hits | 2 runs
- Sarah Bagley (Concord, Mass./Concord-Carlisle), outfielder | 30 games | 25 starts | 9 hits | 4 RBIs
- Danielle Barbato (Hillsdale, N.Y./Taconic Hills), shortstop | 31 starts | 14 hits | 6 runs | 3 RBIs | 1 home run
- Christina Brazeau (Warwick, R.I./Saint Mary Academy-Bay View), 2nd base | 31 starts | 22 hits (team leader) | 8 runs | 3 RBIs | 1 home run | 7 walks (team leader) | .984 fielding percentage
- Caroline Staples (Stoughton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy), outfielder/1st base | 26 games | 20 starts | 10 hits | 2 RBIs | 3 multi-hit games
- Danielle Brown (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union), right-handed pitcher | 27 starts | 15 complete games | 2 shutouts | 135.2 innings pitched | 95 strikeouts | tied program's rookie record for pitching appearances
- Kaleigh Fallon (Mashpee, Mass./Sturgis Charter Public School), outfielder | 1st year of college softball
- Hannah St. Don (Lakeville, Mass./Sacred Heart), catcher | 15 games | 6 pitching appearances | 5.2 innings pitched
- Chandler Wilder (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick), outfielder | 30 games | 28 starts | 9 hits | 5 runs