March 14, 2007

Battaglia Brings Steady Leadership to Red

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The Red desperately need senior co-captain Lauren Battaglia to provide leadership this year, as she is one of only two seniors on a team loaded with freshman. Fortunately for the Red, Battaglia is more than ready to meet the challenge.

“She was a leader as a freshman and she’s still a leader now. She’s so bright,” said head coach Dick Blood.

Just how highly does coach Blood think of Battaglia’s leadership skills?

“I often tell her she might be president of the United States one day,” he said.

Battaglia is in her fourth season on the softball team. She played high school baseball in Okemos, Mich., where she was a captain during her junior and senior years.

She can play multiple infield positions, but is expected to spend most of her time at first base this season.

“I’m just trying to bring a focus and an energy to really push this team to be as good as I know that we can be,” Battaglia said.

So far Brattaglia has pushed the Red to an unblemished 10-0 start, with Battaglia starting five games thus far.

“I’ve just always tried to keep in mind that the team comes first and no matter how I play on a certain day, it’s how the team does that really matters,” she said. It’s important to show [the younger players] the way and set an example about what Cornell softball is all about. A lot of that falls on the upperclassmen.”

Blood expressed an appreciation for the job she has done in setting an example.

“She really leads by example in the weight room and in practice,” he said. “She understands what the expectations for her are and she works hard to achieve those.”

The Red last won the Ivy League championship in 2004, Battaglia’s freshman year. With the team’s strong start this season, expectations are high and the team has hopes of once again claiming the best record in the Ancient Eight.

“[Winning the Ivies] is one of the best things possible. It’s one of my favorite memories. It really would mean everything to go out on a high note like that,” Battaglia said.

When asked to compare this year’s team to past teams, Battaglia emphasized the team’s youth.

“This team is a lot more dependent on its younger players,” she said. “[As a captain] it’s really about making them part of the team right away and making them feel comfortable,” she said.

With Battaglia leading the way, that young talent may bring Cornell an Ivy League title to cap off the senior’s career.