Softball team, boosted by strong returning lineup, kicks off season
The softball team will be beginning its season this weekend as it travels to Charleston, SC to compete in the Charleston Classic. The team will be playing in five games between Feb. 21 and Feb. 23, competing against No. 25 Virginia Tech, Charleston Southern University, the United States Military Academy at West Point, Ohio University, and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
The Big Green welcomed six freshmen to the softball team this year: Maria Angelino ’23, Kate Farren ’23, Maddie Katona ’23, Regan Weekly ’23 and Walker Wicklund ’23. Head coach Jen Williams is enthusiastic about the way they’ve each integrated themselves into and impacted the group so far.
“They bring a lot of energy,” Williams said. “They bring a lot of competitive fire, which is great. They also bring a lot of talent — it’s a very, very talented group. And they’ve really been great about integrating seamlessly with the team, really letting themselves be supported by the team, throwing themselves into what the team does together on and off the field, so really they’ve just been a fantastic addition to what we’re doing both on and off the field.”
Infielder Calista Almer ’20 said she has also seen the positive impact of the ’23s so far this season.
“The ’23s came in in the best shape that a class has come in since I’ve been here, and I think they’re competitive and good teammates,” Almer said. “They understand the importance of fitness and challenging each other, and I think the competition they bring in has been pushing a lot of the upperclassmen because it’s always a fight to outplay one another. It’s a really healthy competition and they’ve created this really healthy, competitive atmosphere on the team of being supportive but also wanting to be the best one out there.”
While there are new additions, the team also boasts a strong returning lineup. Powerhouse second baseman Micah Schroder ’20 will be returning for her fourth and final season with the Big Green. In 2019 alone, she earned the title of Ivy League Player of the Year and was unanimously named First Team All-Ivy, in addition to getting a spot on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I All-Region First Team. In the same year, she shattered the record for Dartmouth’s single season batting average, hitting .473, and she also recorded the most RBIs in a single season in the program’s history. Schroder was recently named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List as well, and was the only player from the Ivy League to earn a spot on the list.
Schroder said she is enthusiastic to play one last season for the Big Green.
“I think as a whole this season I’m personally just looking forward to having one more year of softball with the team that we have,” she said. “It’s been the most I’ve enjoyed playing with a group because everyone has bought in. I think that with the culture that we have going this year, whatever happens we’re going to be successful in what we want to do with our season.”
Pitcher Shelby Wilkison ’21 will not be returning to the team this year, and pitching recruit Mia Bagatourian ’23 has stepped away from the team as well. There are now four pitchers in the Big Green’s pitching staff: Madie Augusto ’22, Brooke Plonka ’22, Heather Turner ’21 and Bryce West ’22. While Plonka, West and Augusto were staples on the mound last year, Turner was unable to throw last season as she was recovering from an injury and is currently recovering from a new one.
“We have a lot of talent in the pitching staff and they will be learning very quickly, both in games and out of them, how to take on those challenges and how to go out and go after every team that they’re facing,” Williams said.
Almer is also confident in the team’s ability to step up this season.
“We’re all around pretty solid but I think fitness wise our strength is going to help us with hitting a lot this year,” Almer said. “I think we’re going to be contenders at the plate and our hitting lineup is going to be really competitive — it’s going to be hard to choose a starting line-up because everyone is hitting so well right now.”
Schroder remarked that the team’s current culture will also play a role in its success.
“We have a really good transformation team culture this year,” she said. “What I’ve already seen from the fall and preseason is we don’t really have any failures or setbacks. Every time something happens, we just find a way to grow from it and make it better.”
In her final season, Schroder has an important goal: to be the best teammate possible.
“My main goal is just to be a good teammate,” she said. “I think that’s something I’ve set out for since freshman year and something that I continuously have to work for, and everybody has setbacks but my own personal goal is to just to be a great teammate. That’s all I can ask for myself this season.”