BU Today


Softball Team Plays Patriot League Home Opener Tomorrow

Terriers optimistic despite slow start


The BU softball team, which captured the Patriot League title last year, is off to a rocky start this season. To date, they’ve gone just 8-20, battling bad weather that’s led to delays and cancellations.

The Terriers are determined to get back on track this weekend when they host Holy Cross in their Patriot League home opener, a three-game set with the Crusaders that begins tomorrow, Saturday, April 8, at noon.

After an opening stretch that saw the team turn in a 5-4 record, BU has dropped 13 of 16 and 8 in a row. It has also seen 12 other games canceled or postponed, with torrential rain and late snowstorms keeping the Terriers off their own field for all but one of their 8 scheduled home contests to date.

“We haven’t even practiced on our field yet,” head coach Ashley Waters says. “We’re in April, and we’ve hardly even stepped foot on the dirt, aside from one game against Bryant.”

That doesn’t mean the Terriers, who started 0-3 in Patriot League play for the second consecutive season after a conference-opening sweep at the hands of Lehigh, have abandoned hopes of winning another Patriot League title.

“Despite everything in the preseason, who we’ve been playing, whatever, we’re 0-3 right now,” says Alex Heinen (CGS’17), who has hit five home runs for the Terriers this season. “We were 0-3 with Army last season. We have a lot of games left. Not that we have a whole lot of time, but it starts this weekend. I have all the confidence in the world in our team. We want it for each other.”

Part of that confidence comes from the purposefully rigorous preconference slate the team has played. Gabi Martinez (SAR’17) says that facing tough competitors early in the season helps her and her teammates understand their strengths and shortcomings heading into league play.

“It definitely exploits weaknesses,” she says. “Playing teams of that caliber, you see how certain drills in practice are translating and how you may not be at the same level as them. It also sets your mentality in the right place. Whenever you play a really good team like that, you always step up.”

Coming out of high school, Martinez wasn’t sure she’d receive an offer to play Division I softball and was ready to choose a school based solely on academics. Then, on a balmy Florida day in the winter of her senior year, the stars aligned at Martinez’s final tournament before hanging it up for good.

“My team wasn’t very good, but we played a team from Georgia that was really good. They were all juniors, and a bunch of coaches from big-time schools like Michigan, Georgia, and Oklahoma came to their games,” Martinez says. “I played the game of my life.”

Alex Heinen at home plate

BU slugger Alex Heinen (CGS’17) is having a strong follow-up to an impressive freshman season, hitting .284 with five home runs this year for the Terriers.

The Michigan coach saw Martinez go three for three with a home run and two doubles. While the coach didn’t have room for Martinez on her team, she recommended her to Kathryn Gleason, then BU softball head coach, and a Terrier star was born.

Martinez has been a leader of the team’s offense, along with Heinen and cocaptain Moriah Connolly (Questrom’17), during her years as a Terrier, clubbing a dozen home runs and with 71 RBIs. Waters attributes Martinez’s success to her strong work ethic.

“It’s kind of clicked for Gabi, where she knows this is her last ride,” the coach says. “She’s definitely dialed in and focused in and wants to have a great final season. She works harder than anybody else.”

Heading into the season’s home stretch, Heinen says she’s got a “gut feeling” that good things are coming down the pipe. And Waters is confident her players have what it takes as they continue their Patriot League play.

“They’re gritty. They play hard,” she says. “Our sport is so mental, and you really do have to be physically tough and mentally tough. They keep playing even when things are against us or things get hard. They just keep playing.”

The BU softball team hosts Holy Cross this weekend in its first home series of Patriot League play. Game one is slated for tomorrow, Saturday, April 8, at noon. Game two follows immediately, at 2 p.m. Game three is Sunday, April 9, at noon. All games will be played at the BU Softball Field, 89 Ashford St., Boston, and are free and open to the public.

Taylor Raglin can be reached at traglin@bu.edu.

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