New softball coach anticipates stronger season

Stevenson softball junior Erin Stephey makes a play in the sweep of the Lycoming Warriors last season. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

The softball team is excited to begin their 2017 season with a new coach, new teammates, and new goals to advance further in the Middle Atlantic Commonwealth (MAC) Conference. The team begins their spring season on March 12, when they travel to Clermont, Florida, for a six-game road trip.

The team ended last season 17- 26, and are ready to improve under new coach Julia Culotta, who has come to Stevenson following five seasons as an assistant coach at UMBC.

Junior Brooke Steinbach pitched a sweep against the Lycoming Warriors last season. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

“I am a coach who loves a balanced lineup with both speed and power, solid pitching and fierce defensive play,” said Culotta. The team has a good balance of experience and new faces, with nine strong freshman additions, according to Culotta.

Senior Naomi Fields, who led the team with a .390 batting average last season, returns, along with junior Jasmyn Ogletree who batted an average of .384, for second best on the team. Junior Kate Finnen is also returning, following her 2016 season where she was fourth on the team with 37 hits and 16 RBI’s.

In their season-opening road trip, the Mustangs will face teams from across the nation. Stevenson starts off against Rutgers-Newark and Bates College on March 12, followed by the University of Minnesota-Morris and Becker College on March 13. The series of games finishes with Gordon College and Fitchburg State University on March 14.

Despite the Mustangs selected to finish No. 6 in the conference this season, it is going to be a general “expectation” for the team to surpass this prediction and finish within the top three, Culotta said. The team is confident in their abilities, as last season they had wins over teams picked to finish in the top five, including beating Arcadia in the MAC Commonwealth tournament.

The team says they are close on and off the field, having built a strong relationship with one another that they feel will transfer over to their play, according to junior Tiffany McKee. With a team comprised of many talented women, the Mustangs are excited for a successful season and ready to make a run for the MAC Commonwealth championship.

The Mustangs’ home opener is set for March 23, against rival Gettysburg, at their home field located at the Jewish Community Center at Weinberg-Fine Stadium.

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