The Boston University softball team had a successful first preseason tournament in Boca Raton, Florida. Hosted by Florida Atlantic University, the Terriers (3-2) won three of five games, including victories over Northern Illinois University, Duke University and Michigan State University.
BU head coach Ashley Waters said she saw a lot of good of good things, but there was a lot of room for improvement.
“I thought overall we played pretty well,” Waters said. “It showed that we are scrappy and that we can compete with some of the top teams. First time seeing dirt, we made some mental mistakes, but that is what preseason is for.”
In the first game of season, BU defeated the Northern Illinois 6-2 in a come-from-behind victory. The Terriers scored six unanswered runs after falling behind early.
The Huskies (0-5) scored two unearned runs in the first inning off of freshman pitcher Ali Dubois, who was making her debut on the mound for BU.
Dubois settled down extremely well after a difficult start to career, as she only gave up five hits, surrendered five walks and struck out five in a complete game victory.
Waters said she liked what she saw from the freshman pitcher, especially her versatility.
“Ali is a competitor,” Waters said. “She wants the ball. It doesn’t make a difference for how many innings we need her. She is running on the field like she wants the ball in her hands. She wants to be in control.”
The Terriers then faced off against Duke (2-3) and needed extra innings to overcome the Blue Devils.
Duke tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, but it certainly could have been a lot worse. Dubois came into pitch the inning in relief after freshman Cali Dolfi pitched 4.1 innings.
Waters said she was impressed with Dubois, but is more excited because she knows the freshman can throw better.
“I don’t even think Ali threw her best,” Waters said. “She was still obviously incredibly effective. She is a natural pitcher and she likes the pressure moment. She had a chance to showcase what she can do and I think she did prove that she is going to be a force on our staff.”
Sophomore transfer Dominique Salinas singled home the tying run, but Duke made the final two outs on the base paths to extend the game.
Junior catcher Alexa Ponce came up with a pinch-hit RBI fielder’s choice to give BU a 4-3 lead. With the Terriers up 5-3, senior Jilee Schanda drove home two to break the game wide open and give BU a 7-3 lead. The Terriers would go on to win 7-4.
Against Bethune-Cookman University, BU would strike first, but would then see the Wildcats (2-3) score six straight.
Sophomore pitcher Lizzie Annerino started, and went four innings and gave up two earned runs for BU. The Terriers stuck around until the sixth inning, but gave up three runs and the Eagles were able to win comfortably.
BU began its Sunday double-header with a 3-0 shutout win over Michigan State (2-3). If Dubois was impressive in her first start, she was downright unfathomable in her second.
She went the distance for the second straight start, this time surrendering six hits, but only two walks and striking out an impressive total of seven.
In the finale, the Terriers fell to Ohio State University 3-2 over eight innings. Junior Lilli Piper had a walk-off single to complete the comeback for the Buckeyes (5-0).
Waters told her team that while there was and always is room for improvement, it was an encouraging start to the season.
“I said that we’re good, but we are not good enough yet,” Waters said. “There’s a lot of work to do. This team wants to win a championship and to get there you have to go through the highs and lows. We are a long ways off of how good we can be.”
Waters was content with the positive start to the season for BU, but thought the Terriers’ record have been even better.
“I think we could have ended with a better record, potentially get four wins and one loss or even 5-0,” Waters said. “But you have to have room for mistakes and have areas to work on and areas to grow.”