Sign of Spring: BU Softball Season Arrives
Terriers in full swing as they host Boston College today
Walking along Ashford Street these days you can hear the sting of softballs ricocheting off aluminum bats and the crisp thud of the balls making contact with leather gloves—sure signs of the arrival of both spring and the BU softball season.
Last year marked the Terriers’ final campaign in America East, and they left the conference with a league-record eight regular season titles and nine tournament championships. Head coach Kathryn Gleason says that with the University’s move to the Patriot League, the team is eager to maintain that standard of excellence.
“There are trophies all over this office that serve as a reminder of this program’s rich history,” Gleason says. “Carrying on that tradition of winning championships is important. We have a team that has been there and done that, and that’s our goal once again.”
BU is seeking a return to the NCAA tournament after missing a chance for a fourth consecutive conference crown last season. The Terriers were not eligible for the America East tournament because of the impending move to the Patriot League, and after a series of injuries, they finished the regular season with a disappointing 8-9 record in conference play.
This year’s squad got off to a rocky start in nonconference play, but moved into second place in the Patriot League standings by taking two of three games from league-leading Lehigh University last weekend.
The Terriers are now 4-2 in their new conference as they prepare to host crosstown rival Boston College at 4 p.m. today. The team is hoping for a better outcome after falling to BC 8-0 last Thursday. Starting pitcher Lauren Hynes (CAS’16) allowed just three hits in a home win over UConn the day before, but was unable to keep the Eagles off the scoreboard the following day.
“We’ve always been able to score runs,” says Hynes, who was named to the 2013 America East All-Rookie Team. “But we’ve struggled with some injuries to our pitching staff. If our pitching and defense pull through, we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
Led by 2013 America East Player of the Year Jayme Mask (CAS’14), BU’s offense is at the top of the Patriot League in batting average and runs scored. Mask is one of the most accomplished leadoff hitters in Terrier history (the program is now in its 28th year). She tied the program’s single season record, with 37 stolen bases last season, and already has the most stolen bases in a career, with 102.
This is Gleason’s second year as Terrier head coach. The former UMass assistant softball coach says she has welcomed the challenge of integrating eight newcomers—seven of them freshmen-—into this year’s team.
“I was concerned about how the veterans and newcomers would mix, but the younger players haven’t acted like freshmen in any way,” Gleason says. “They’ve done everything that’s asked of them and contributed with poise beyond their years.”
“Our chemistry has been great,” Hynes says. “The freshmen were a tight-knit group when they came in, but we’ve really come together as a unit over the last few months, and we have a lot of fun.”
Gleason says that in her 17 years of coaching, this year’s roster is one of the most cohesive groups she’s ever coached. “They love to hang out with each other, they clearly enjoy each other’s company, and that carries over onto the field, because they want to win for each other.”
Fans are encouraged to arrive early for this afternoon’s game. Raising Cane’s will be giving away free chicken, and there will also be a free raffle, with prizes that include a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card and coupons for free pizza from Domino’s. The BU Pep Band will be on hand throughout the game.
The Boston University softball team hosts Boston College today, April 10, at 4 p.m. at the BU softball field, across from the Track & Tennis Center on Ashford Street. Softball home games are free and open to the public.
Nate Weitzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.+ Comments