ENC Women’s Softball team is out to improve upon the season they had last year in which they tied the school record for 16 wins. This year, the team prepares to be successful in the CCC having a year of play under their belts.
Last season the team had ten new players, eight of them being freshmen. With their new coach Dani Bishop, the team competed hard, ready to make a statement.
Entering last season, nobody expected much of the “Lady Lions” as they were ranked last in the preseason poll, but ENC experienced success like never before. They had a 16-25 season, with a 7-11 record in conference. Their surprising start came due to their young collection of power hitters, spearheaded by infielder Lauren Clements (Garrison, Texas).
Clements played extremely well last season boasting a .354 batting average along with seven home runs (one away from tying ENC’s single season record), and 45 hits (breaking ENC single-season record). Having done all of this in her freshman year, Coach Bishop expects an even better production from the Texas native this coming season.
“Coming into this season, she has improved her speed and agility which will help her hit more doubles, but she is definitely out to break the home run record, and I think she will this year.”
This year, ENC has added six new players to their lineup including Kori Bow (Shaftsbury, Vermont) and Kayleen Garrick (Reno, Nevada). The team is also seeing many players return, such as Emily Gomez (Floral Park, New York) and Kelly Couite (West Bridgewater, Massachusetts), two junior outfielders who Coach Bishop expects to play a bigger role this season.
Lacking experience and depth, the team faltered sporadically splitting a majority of their early doubleheaders and struggling through losing streaks last year, but this season, a matured group of players looks to take what they learned last year and use it to their benefit.
“We need to take the momentum we had last year, remembering how good the success felt and how bad the failures hurt, and use that to win the games we know we should win,” said Sophomore Meghan Stanley.
ENC made the playoffs for the first time in four years, defeating Nichols last April with a walk-off home run by Lauren Clements. Their lone postseason victory has given the team confidence going into this season.
“We have had to prove ourselves all year long last season, and beating Nichols just gave us the confidence we need to get better as a team going into this year,” said Heidi Gomes, who lead the women’s softball team’s pitching staff in strikeouts last season.
Most teams would be satisfied with a school record for wins, but the Lions are on a mission to improve, with a CCC championship in mind. The Lady Lions play their first game on March 4 against Elms University in their spring training tour in Florida.