HANOVER, N.H. – After winning 26 games and clinching the North Division, the Dartmouth softball team is poised to erase the memory of last season’s Ivy League Championship Series that saw a Tournament-winning home run by Penn allow the Quakers to represent the Ancient Eight at the NCAA Tournament.
"I'm very excited to get this season started. We return a strong core and have brought in freshmen that will compete for time from the start. We've got a tough road ahead of us, but we're looking forward to the challenges,” said Hanson.
Fourth-year head coach Rachel Hanson has reloaded her squad from within along with adding six newcomers and a former All-American to sit beside her on the bench. Hanson’s squad returns Ivy League Pitcher of the Year junior Kristen Rumley and Ivy Rookie of the Year Katie McEachern.
Hanson and Rumley were named College Sports Madness Preseason Coach and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. McEachern was also named to the CSM All-Ivy First-Team with Rumley and junior Meagan Averitt claiming Second-Team honors.
Hanson also added former Michigan All-American Dorian Shaw to the staff, who will add experience and leadership working with the infielders and assist with hitting. After graduating from Ann Arbor, Shaw played professionally in the National Pro Fastpitch and was the fourth overall pick in 2011. She is currently a member of the Pennsylvania Rebellion.
Rumley will be asked once again to be the ace of the pitching staff after posting a 22-9 record with a 1.47 earned run average. Sophomore Morgan McCalmon is slated to be the second option inside the circle after making 21 appearances last season. Classmate Alex Jarvis will be utilized as a reliever this season after working on her mechanics. Freshman Ashley Sissel will also have an opportunity to battle for time in the circle with McCalmon and Jarvis.
Behind the plate, Hanson is confident once again in senior Alex St. Romain’s ability to call a great game and work with the pitchers. In 33 appearances behind the dish, St. Romain made 215 putouts and 15 defensive assists. Sophomore Kathy Dzienkowski and freshman Karen Chaw will also see time behind the plate and each bring different dynamics to the game. Dzienkowski hit .302 with two home runs and eight RBI. Chaw was more of a power hitter during her days at Castro Valley High School in California.
Around the infield, Dartmouth returns a good core of fielders, but also adds some pop in the lineup. Freshman Maddie Damore, out of Saint Francis High School in Campbell, California will add power at first base. McCalmon and Rumley will also see time at the corner position when they are not inside the circle. Rumley returns with the best batting average from the previous year at .362 and is second in returning players with 17 RBI. McCalmon finished second in homers with five with 16 runs driven home.
Senior Kara Curosh will shift over from shortstop to second base where she started in 26 games. Curosh hit .282 with two home runs and nine RBI. Freshman Alyssa Jorgensen and Jarvis can also see time at the middle infield position.
McEachern primarily saw time last season in right field, but started 19 games at shortstop where she will take over this season. McEachern led the team in home runs with 10 and RBI with 38 as a rookie. Freshman Chloe Madill will be used as a utility player and will see time in the outfield as well.
At third base, sophomore Kelsey Miller started in 42 games last season and is a great defender with a .925 fielding percentage. Miller hit .283 last season with a team-high 13 doubles. Junior Rhiannon Saucedo will also see time at third.
In the outfield, junior Megan Averitt started 36 games in the center field, six games in left field and hit .262. Sophomore Brianna Lohmann played 17 games in left field and nine games in center. Freshman Alyssa Loyless and Madill will also vie for time in the outfield.
The Big Green begins the season at the Florida International Tournament on Feb. 21 against the host Panthers. The team will make their home debut on Mar. 25 when they meet UMass Lowell. Three days later, Ivy League competition begins with a weekend series at Cornell and Princeton. The Ivy League Championship Series begins May 3.