BENNINGTON, Vt. – A young Southern Vermont College softball team has been selected by New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) coaches to finish ninth out of the 10 league teams in the preseason poll.
Head coach Leanne Baker enters her third season at the helm of the Mountaineers, looking to make her first NECC postseason appearance. "We're young, but we have the talent," noted Baker. "As long as we play with confidence, we'll be in good shape."
Coach Baker returns seven players from the 2012 squad which went 6-32 overall, the most wins for the program since 2005; the Mountaineers were 3-15 in the league, the most conference wins since the inception of the NECC in 2009.
Jones had the second-most hits last season (37) behind recently graduated Alyssa Davis who returns as an assistant coach for Coach Baker; Jones also recorded the third-best batting average with a .327. Fleming batted .324 in 2012 with a team-high four home runs to go along with 23 hits and 17 runs batted in. While in the circle, she recorded 38 strikeouts and only 19 walks in 75.1 innings pitched.
Emily will spend part of her time pitching to sister and sophomore captain Meagan Fleming (Gansevoort, N.Y.) who will spend a lot of time behind the dish for the Mountaineers in her rookie season. Additional newcomers include freshman captain and second baseman Rachel Robtoy (Baltic, Conn.) and freshman Jenn Sicinski (Shelton, Conn.) who will split time with Meagan Fleming behind the plate.
Also returning to the 2013 team is sophomore pitcher Hayley McDonald (Latham, N.Y.). She started 21 games a year ago, striking out 89 batters in 143.1 innings pitched, the sixth-most putdowns in the NECC.
Reigning and four-time NECC Champion Lesley University was selected to finish first in the conference after receiving nine of the ten first-place votes.
The Mountaineers begin regular season action with their spring training trip to Myrtle Beach March 17-23. Their first conference matchup comes immediately following their return on March 24 when they welcome the defending conference champs for a 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. doubleheader. Their season also includes non-conference contests against Utica College (March 27), Williams College (March 29), and Mass. College of Liberal Arts (April 10).
1. Lesley - 99 (9)
2. Mitchell - 85
3. Elms - 77 (1)
4. Daniel Webster - 66
5. Newbury - 57
6. Regis - 50
7. Bay Path - 40
8. Becker - 36
9. Southern Vt - 25
10. Wheelock - 9