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The Blue & Gray Press | October 20, 2017

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Softball season preview: experience and skill to be in Eagles’ favor

Softball season preview: experience and skill to be in Eagles’ favor

By ETHAN TOBIN

Coming off a strong season (6-6 CAC, 13-14 Overall) and finishing fourth in the Capital Athletic Conference last year, the University of Mary Washington’s women’s softball team is set to return for another action packed season.

The team faced a tough ending to their 2014 season, exiting the CAC tournament after falling closely to York College and Frostburg State 3-5 and 2-3, respectively, and now the team is in store for another challenging season.

Notable Eagle returners to the well experienced squad include senior infielder Brittany Scites, who posted a 0.390 batting average, senior outfielder Hannah Williams, who posted a .233 batting average, and senior infielder Alex Tenney, who posted a 0.295 batting average a season ago. Between the three, who individually found spots atop the team leaders charts in hits, runs batted in and stolen bases a season ago, will additionally offer significant experience on the defensive end of the ball for an Eagle squad introducing six first-year players to the team.

Along with the strong returning core of offensive talent, ability and defensive experience, senior star pitcher Hannah Otterman will remain the go-to ace for coach Dee Conway. Otterman, who appeared in 17 games for the Eagles a season ago, starting in 13 games, posted a 9-4 record in 101.1 innings and finished with a 2.14 ERA. Additionally, Otterman posted 64 strikeouts and maintained a 0.250 batting average for her team offensively.

By the time of their first CAC game against Salisbury University on Saturday, March 21, the Eagles will have already participated in over a dozen games, including a tournament over the University’s spring break for which the team will travel to South Carolina. The Eagles are set to play eight games while at the tournament.

In addition to a strong Eagles squad, they will be joined by tough competition in the CAC, including rival schools Salisbury University and Christopher Newport University, who finished first last year and second in the conference posting 11-1 CAC, 44-5 Overall and 11-1 CAC, 38-8 Overall records, respectively.

Conway looks to coach her Eagles back to the CAC playoffs in hopes of winning the softball championship for the first time since 1996. Conway, who has experienced multiple 20-plus win seasons as head coach and multiple CAC title series appearances, most recently in 2009, knows what it takes to be successful in the league. With an experienced squad at her reign, the 2015 Softball team heads into the new 2015 season with full steam and confidence.

In their first home game of the season, the Eagles will take on Randolph-Macon College on March 14 at the Battlegrounds. In addition to marking the start of their CAC conference title run, the day will mark “Win 4 Wesley Day,” an event that will be close to many around the UMW campus and within the athletics world at the university.

Last fall, senior Tyler Carey of the University of Mary Washington’s men’s tennis team became involved in the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, a nonprofit organization that pairs children and families impacted by cancer with collegiate athletic programs.

Since Carey’s “match” with Wesley Berry, a young man with cancer, back in August, the UMW athletic department and all varsity sports have teamed up with Carey and Berry in an effort to raise awareness and support of his condition.