March 7, 2007

Nine Freshmen Infielders Provide Depth for Softball

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Last year, the softball team struggled with fielding as its infielders made numerous costly errors. With the addition of a whopping nine freshman who can play in the infield, that problem appears to have been solved.

At last year’s George Mason Classic, the Red won just two of four games. In the team’s 8-6 loss against Mount Saint Mary’s, four Red errors led to five unearned runs. In total, the Red committed seven errors during its four games in last year’s tournament.
[img_assist|nid=21936|title=Stare her down|desc=Sophomore pitcher/infielder Haley Mirrer will look to help the nine Red freshman infielders adjust to collegiate softball.|link=none|align=left|width=67|height=100]
The new and improved Red had vastly different results in this year’s tournament which took place last weekend. Aided by the improved infield fielding, the Red won all of its four games by a combined score of 29-4. The team committed just one error all weekend, which came during the late innings of a blowout against Central Connecticut.

“[The freshman infielders] bring a great of deal of athleticism to our team in terms of power and speed, but most importantly they are going to give us defensive flexibility. We should be able to make late inning substitutions to strengthen our defense,” said head coach Dick Blood.

The freshman who made the biggest impact during the team’s opening weekend was Alyson Intihar. She spent time fielding at first, second and third base this weekend. She proved effective at each of the three positions, successfully converting all of her team-high 21 fielding opportunities. The first-year player from Pennsylvania also rounded the bases quite a bit, as Intihar hit a single, three doubles and the team’s only homerun of the tournament. She totaled five runs as well as a team-leading six RBIs.

“Alyson has helped us in a number of ways. She has a great bat, she is really aggressive at the plate and defensively she is very versatile,” said senior co-captain Lauren Battaglia.

Freshman Devon March also played a key role in the Red’s weekend triumphs. She started two games at second base and also came in as a defensive replacement at third base in another. She scored four runs which was the third most on the team.

Classmate Vanessa Leonhard came in as a defensive replacement at catcher in each of the team’s four games. She took advantage of her opportunities to bat as well, hitting doubles in each of her plate appearances.

“I was just hoping to help with the depth on defense. We [the freshmen] are just trying to support and build on what the team had last year,” Leonhard said.

Freshman Elise Menaker started at third base in two of the team’s games and converted all six of her fielding opportunities. Classmate Izzy Pines started at third in the Red’s other two games and also did not commit an error. The two third basemen combined to score three runs on offense.

While only seeing limited action in the field, three other freshmen — Caitlin Hutchinson, Abby Marlow and Dana Robbins — each contributed to the stellar infield defense over the weekend. Ashley Garvey is another freshman who is expected to contribute in the infield; however she did not travel with the team for its opening weekend games.