Terriers eyeing championship

As the Boston University softball team gets into its season, the goal is clear: win the America East championship.

The Terriers boast an experienced team, with five seniors on board to provide the most important intangible of all: leadership.

“So far they’re doing a pretty good job,” said BU coach Amy Hayes. “They’re very active, vocally.”

Catcher Leslie Linnemeyer, second baseman Kerry Herr and outfielder Courtney Herr, centerfielder Kenya Palmer and pitcher Robyn King make up the group of four-year players the Terriers will look to when times are tough. Courtney Herr cannot be counted on as of yet, as she is working her way back from a torn rotator cuff.

The rest of the team reads like a youth movement. Third baseman Aryn Rangel is the only junior on the team with six sophomores and three freshmen rounding out the squad. While youth is good for building a squad for the future, in this case, it also shows the strength of the Terrier program, as the young players are also relied upon to make contributions right now.

Among the sophomores is last season’s America East Rookie of the Year Robyn Horrick, a pitcher that Hayes said will see time at other positions. From the freshman class, Hayes expects right fielder Abby Pauley to contribute right away. Pauley has won the starting job, and Hayes said, “She’s playing some really good ball right now.”

While the freshman players only number four, the coaches add three more to that total with the coaching staff. Hayes and her assistant coaches, Sarah Hudson and Andy Hartung, are all in their first year in their respective positions at BU.

“I’m going to make mistakes,” Hayes said. “Hopefully they’ll be patient with me, and hopefully I won’t be making those mistakes by the end of the season.”

The Terriers have already played 14 games, going 8-6 in early season action, including a huge 4-2 win on March 9 against then-No. 5 Stanford University in Tampa, Fla. King picked up the win in relief, while the scoring came from small plays, as the Terriers executed two successful suicide squeezes. But BU followed that game up with a poor performance against Pennsylvania State University that saw them lose, 5-3. The contrast between the two performances on March 9 showcases what Hayes sees as the team’s biggest problem thus far.

“What we’ve faced already is inconsistency,” Hayes said. “We’ll go out and play awesome in one game and then drop the next one. We beat No. 5 in the nation Stanford and then we come back and lose to a Penn State team we should have beaten.”

But the Terriers are in the early stages of the season. Hayes said that, as the players get more comfortable in their positions, the team gets stronger.

Having home field advantage again will also help. The Terriers will play their next five games at alternate sites due to the continued renovations at Malvern Field and Nickerson Field.

BU has the weapons to make a run at the conference championship in Hayes’ eyes. They boast a strong pitching staff anchored by the Rockin’ Robyns, King and Horrick. The Terriers’ top hitters, King and Rangel, are also back from last year.

“We expect to be right there fighting for the conference championship,” Hayes said. “I see us in the final game and hopefully walking away with a win and heading to regionals.”

In addition to the talent, the Terriers boast good chemistry, essential in any team that has visions of success.

“We work well together,” Hayes said. “This is a good bunch of girls. They work really hard.”

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