Last year, the Harvard softball team finished its season 2-6 in the Ancient Eight and watched as Princeton won its tenth straight title. So far this year the weather has kept the team from playing outside, and now Crimson players say they...
The only thing slowly down the Harvard women's softball team this year is Mother Nature.
After six weeks of indoor practices, the Crimson (23-14 overall, 2-6 Ivy in 1992) is more than ready to play outside. But the prospects of outdoor action don't appear too promising at Harvard for the next couple weeks.
Luckily, the team escapes to Fort Myers, Florida tomorrow for a week of decent weather and dry fields.
"We've had a really long indoor season and we're all very anxious to get outside," sophomore Elizabeth Walker said. "We're extremely excited for the trip."
After the team returns from the Sunshine State, provided the snow has melted, the Crimson will be ready to rush onto the field towards a very successful spring.
"We are really excited this year," Captain Nancy Johnson said. "We only lost two seniors so we have a lot of experience and are strong in every area."
Harvard's three best hitters--sophomore Jana Meader (.372), senior Katie Fitta (.359), and Johnson (.329)--return this season to continue the Crimson's strength at the plate.
But youth and energy also seem to be characteristic of this year's softball team--ten out of the sixteen players are rookies or sophomores.
And don't assume that underclassmen equals inexperience. On the contrary, the Crimson holds promising talent in its younger players which enables Coach Barry Haskell to concentrate on the finer points of the game instead of teaching basics.
"This year we have really good freshmen recruits with good experience," Meader said. "Many of them have played tougher competition in their summer leagues than what we'll be facing in some of our games.
Starting pitcher senior Christine Carr and Johnson combine their strong leadership skills to create team cohesion.
"The seniors are really helping out," sophomore Danielle Belanger said. "We have a really strong team spirit and we're very hopeful that this is going to be a great season."
The Crimson was disappointed with its 2-6 Ivy League finish last season and hopes to improve on its record this year.
With Dartmouth becoming a varsity squad this year and adding two more games to the Crimson's schedule, Harvard's chances for success increase dramatically.