With its sweep of Cornell last weekend, the BU softball team ended the regular season winning 28 of the last 32 games. Hot off a 15-game winning streak, the Terriers (36-18, 15-3 PL) are hosting the Patriot League tournament, which starts today.
“The win streak gave us a lot of confidence, especially going into the end of the season and the postseason,” says Emma Wong (CAS’18, COM’18). “It was nice to see everything come together, especially for an extended amount of time.”
The Terriers will look to continue building on their impressive record as they square off against Army in the tournament first round at the BU Softball Field at noon.
“We knew this team was really special starting in the fall,” Wong says. “Carrying that into the spring and seeing how our season has played out, we knew that this team was capable of doing something really great.”
This season marks the first time the Terriers will host the tournament under head coach Ashley Waters. The advantage is awarded to the team with the best regular season conference record.
“One of the players’ goals from the beginning was to host,” Waters says. “The past two years have been back at Lehigh, and Lehigh obviously has a great program, so for us, the goal was pretty much to not go back to Lehigh. Our home field is an advantage. They love being on it. There’s a lot of pride on it.”
The home field provides a logistical plus—eliminating the wear and tear of travel and playing on a familiar field. But it’s also a testament, says Wong, to the string of accomplishments the team has racked up all season.
For starters, the Terriers’ 36-18 record going into the Patriot League tournament is the best the team has posted since 2012. There was also an unforgettable upset against number-one Oklahoma on February 17. And earlier this week, the Terriers swept the Patriot League awards: Alex Heinen (CGS’17, COM’19) was named Player of the Year, Ali Dubois (ENG’21) Pitcher and Rookie of the Year, Brittany Younan (CAS’17, Questrom’17, MET’18) Defensive Player of the Year, and Waters Coach of the Year.
Four Terriers—Younan, Heinen, Wong, and Dubois—were named to the All–Patriot League First Team, and three more to the second team: Kaitlin Sahlinger (CGS’16, Questrom’18), Jilee Schanda (CGS’16, SHA’18), and Emily Morrow (CGS’17, Sargent’19).
The team has not only earned the league-best team batting average (.291), but Heinen, Wong, and Schanda also finished in the top 10 individually. In addition, the Terriers have amassed the most runs and hits in the conference. And while the roster lacked sluggers bombing away home runs, the Terriers managed to impress with an NCAA-best 30 triples.
The team’s track record has been equally impressive defensively, as the Terriers led the league in ERA (2.18) and fielding (.971). Although her pitching staff is built entirely of underclassmen, the tough regular season matchups—battles against Michigan State, Oklahoma, and Long Beach State, among others—have prepared them for this week’s tournament, Waters says.
“They’ve been in these moments, they’ve been in these games. I always tell them to not make something bigger than it is,” she says. “From a distance, a hill can look like a mountain, but when you get up close, it’s just a hill.”
Underclassmen say their goal is to win a Patriot League title for the team’s seniors.
“They’re honestly one of the most special groups of people I ever got to play with,” Heinen says. “The culture that they’ve created is something so special, so it’s going to be tough to see them go for sure, but I hope the culture continues through us.
“They deserve to go out with a big ending.”
The BU softball team hosts Army in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament today, Thursday, May 10, at noon. The Bucknell vs Lehigh game follows at 2 pm. The semifinals continue Friday, May 11, with games slated for 11 am, 1:30 pm, and 4:30 pm. The final will be on Saturday, May 12, at noon. All games will be played at the BU Softball Field, on Ashford Street across the street from the Track & Tennis Center. Tickets are $5 for the general public, $3 for children and students with a Patriot League school ID, and free for students with a BU ID.
Jonathan Chang can be reached at email@example.com.