Softball, Sports

Softball returns to Northeast to get back in the swing of things

After beginning the season with a 13-6 record after tournaments in Florida and California, the Boston University softball team comes home to the Northeast this weekend for a four-game set. A double-header against Columbia University in New York City and two games in Bethlehem, Pa. ‘-‘- one vs. St. Joseph’s University and a high-profile matchup against Lehigh University ‘-‘- will set the rhythm for the remainder of the regular season.

‘In the start-of-the-season tournaments, we play softball games every day,’ BU coach Shawn Rychcik said. ‘Now, we get a chance to settle into the normal swing of the season, alternating school, practice and games.’

According to Rychcik, the return home gives upperclassmen an opportunity to regain a comfort level generated by the rhythm of normal season play, and underclassmen should benefit from the rest of a week off. The Terriers last played on March 15 against George Washington University.

‘Thirty percent of the season is played in the two tournaments,’ Rychcik said. ‘After weeks of constant play and warm temps, you get tired.’

Despite the period of rest, a flu running through the team has depleted the lineup.

‘We don’t worry about factors we can’t control,’ Rychcik said. ‘We expect to win. We do not know much about Columbia, but we have scouting reports on St. Joseph’s and Lehigh.’

Columbia is 7-10 and coming off a loss against Fairleigh Dickinson University in the back end of a doubleheader. St. Joseph’s is 7-8 after winning four straight, but it dropped seven in a row earlier this season. Lehigh appears to be the biggest threat heading into the weekend.

‘Lehigh has [senior pitcher Lisa] Sweeney, who is one of the better pitchers in the

Northeast,’ Rychcik said. ‘And the team wins a lot of games every year.’

Lehigh, 10-10, has won every Patriot League title this millennium, and each one dating back to 1999. The aforementioned Sweeney is responsible in large part for its past three titles. She’s won Patriot League Pitcher of the Year all three seasons in college. Last season, she was also the league’s Player of the Year.

But close games have characterized this season, as 13 of Lehigh’s 20 games have been decided by a three-run margin or less. This trend favors the Terriers, whose pitching has tilted close games ‘-‘- not only do they have a winning record in games decided by three runs or less, but several of the wins have come in shutouts.

Terrier pitching recorded 28 scoreless innings during a four-game stretch in the University of South Florida Under Armour Invitational. These games were preceded by a 1-0 loss to Villanova University and a 2-0 win over Sacramento State University.

Senior Cassidi Hardy leads the team with a 5-2 record and 1.35 ERA, and junior

Megan Currier is 6-2 with a 1.74 ERA.

‘We know we’re only going to need a couple runs with our pitching the way it is,’ Rychcik said. ‘But Melissa, April and Shayne have led us offensively.’

Sophomore April Setterlund (.380) and seniors Shayne Lotito (.368) and

Melissa Dubay (.391) batted first through third, respectively, in the

Terriers’ last game, but Rychcik hasn’t settled on a permanent lineup.

‘I still am tinkering,’ he said. ‘Not as much performance-oriented, but putting everyone in position to work with each other is important.’

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