Hawks look for stronger season

Their 6-28-1 record last season was not much to celebrate. But after only graduating two seniors, the current softball team has chemistry that a lot of other teams lose at the end of year.

The two gaps that will need to be filled is at shortstop and center field. Haley Ledbetter fought for that spot as a freshman and dominated the spot all the way until her final game. She was also the team’s solid number two hitter in the batting order, with an on base percentage of .395 in her senior season. In center, Val Moran locked down fly balls while also providing a dangerous bat on offense.

The Hawks have five seniors on the roster this year. Catcher Micaela Pohl played well for the team last season and is a clear leader on the field. Amanda Boulter had a solid season in left field with a fielding percentage of .921. Hailey Prechtel struggled a bit last year on the mound with a 6.83 ERA, but had the second-lowest on the team. Bella Malvinni finished with a .943 fielding percentage in her first year since transferring to RWU. The fifth senior is transfer Elizabeth Lombardo, who is coming over from rival Salve Regina University. Lombardo played her sophomore year there, but not last season.

“The seniors this year are filling the shoes of last year’s seniors. We don’t have captains on our team,” Pohl said. “Not having that set person labeled captain is awesome because everybody steps up.”

Pohl noted that even Lombardo has stepped up. She has fit in so well with the team that it seems like she’s been playing with the Hawks for four years, according to Pohl.

The coaching staff, with Joyce Maudie at the helm, has added six freshmen to the roster this year. Two of them pitch, giving the Hawks more options to show their opponent something new.

Their eyes were set on getting back to that championship game that they lost a season ago. This year, the goal is the same, but their process is more set on how they get there, instead of when.

“I think we get caught up in focusing on the CCC championship game for playoffs that we start to lose sight of the little things,” Pohl said. “You have to do the little things right, whether it is cheering or picking your teammate up or making contact bat to ball.”

The team will begin their season in Florida, where they play teams from across the country to get better. The trip is always a highlight for them as it provides an opportunity to strengthen and learn from other teams without it affecting their conference record.

The Hawks play their first home game on March 22 against their former conference opponent, Eastern Nazarene College.