HANOVER, N.H. – Dartmouth Softball Park might be buried under a foot of snow, but Spring will be here before you know it, as will another year of Big Green softball.
‘’I’m really excited about this year and this team,” said Dartmouth head coach, Shannon Doepking. “Our upperclassmen have done a great job leading and setting a high standard for our program and our underclassmen have done a great job buying in. We have worked really hard in the off season and we are excited to get to compete against someone other than ourselves.”
The Big Green look to get back to a familiar spot atop the Ivy League’s North Division standings for the chance to compete for the program’s third league crown in four years.
2016 IN REVIEW
Dartmouth finished the season 27-15 overall with a 15-5 conference record. The Big Green’s regular season was highlighted by a 13-game win streak in Ivy League play that spanned from April 1-23. In a thrilling race for the division crown, Dartmouth fell just short to rival Harvard in the final series of 2016. The Big Green also bid farewell to one of the most feared hitters in the Ancient Eight. Senior Katie McEachern closed out her phenomenal career in a Dartmouth uniform by rising to the top of the school’s all-time list in home runs (40), RBIs, (129), runs (128) and hits (203). She also finished with a career batting average of .380 for the best career average by any player in program history.
The Big Green begin the 2017 campaign on Feb. 24, just 100 miles west of the Big Easy with the Mardi Gras Classic in Lafayette, Louisiana. From there Dartmouth will travel to Kennesaw State for the Kennesaw State tournament. On March 17 the Big Green head west for the LMU Tournament before taking on Bingham Young on March 24 and the PAC 12’s UCLA on March 26. Dartmouth opens up Ivy League play on March 31 at Columbia before traveling to Penn. This season, the Big Green will host Cornell, Princeton and Brown before the regular season home-and-home finale with rival Harvard.
Eight freshmen will wear the Green and White uniform for the first time this season. The Class of 2020 is comprised of: Jade Bravo, Sophia Ausmus, Micah Schroder, Loghan Thomas, Morgan Ebow, Calista Almer, Tessa Grossman and Tatyanah Castillo.
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS
Dartmouth returns four All-Ivy selections from a year ago, including senior Karen Chaw, who finished the season batting .293 with 39 hits and 10 doubles. Also returning for her sophomore season is Morgan Martinelli, who had a fantastic rookie year, batting .377 with a team-high 14 doubles. Junior Maddie Damore also looks to build off solid 2016 numbers where she hit .266 with three homeruns. In the circle, junior Breanna Ethridge will be the Big Green’s most experienced hurler after she went 10-4 with a team-best 2.43 ERA in 23 appearances.
S-E-C, S-E-C, S-E-C
All three members of the Dartmouth coaching staff have ties to the Southeastern Conference. Doepking played four seasons at Tennessee, helping the Lady Vols to an impressive 246-46 (.842) record from 2005-08, she also played in three consecutive Women’s College World Series from 2005-07. Returning for her third season in Hanover is Molly Fichtner who graduated from Alabama in 2014. As a catcher for the Crimson Tide, Fichtner appeared in 102 games, starting 88. As a senior Fichtner reached the Women’s College World Series and was named to the All-SEC Second Team. Joining the staff this year is Jackie Traina, who also is an Alabama graduate and former teammate of Fichtner. In 2012, Traina helped the Crimson Tide win its first National Championship, earning Women’s College World Series MVP honors. Traina was also a member of the USA National Team in 2012, 2014 and 2015, where she won a gold medal at the World Cup of Softball in 2015.
All of Dartmouth’s home games in 2017 will be broadcast live in high definition on the Ivy League Digital Network with Brett Franklin on the call. Fans can sign up for the conference’s video streaming and on-demand content to follow the Big Green all spring. Ivy League road games (when available) will also be broadcast.