Snow and cold weather can be a bummer, but it’s no problem for Cardinal Softball. After finishing 10-22 and 3-9 NESCAC in 2014, missing out on the playoffs, and saying goodbye to a group of seniors that included top-three hitter Amy Lindland ’14, this young and talented group—led by captains Jill Gately ’15 (short stop/third base) and Amanda Roosa ’16 (second base)—is enthusiastically preparing for its 2015 campaign, and rightfully so. Gately was named second-team all-conference last season after being named to the first-team two seasons ago.
The team will also no longer have Abby Rutt ’17, who was named NESCAC Rookie of the Year a season ago. Rutt was first-team all-NESCAC, second-team all-ECAC New England Division III, and was named third-team all-New England Division III by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. She led the Cardinals in batting average (.426), home runs (7, which tied the single-season school record), RBIs (31), and slugging percentage (.772). She also was a defensive stalwart in the field with a .961 fielding percentage, splitting time between shortshop and catcher.
While the weather hasn’t helped in practice, it’s easy to forget all the mountains of snow with a weeklong trip to Florida on the tip of your schedule.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team where people are this excited to practice every day,” said Izzy Linzer ’17. “That was definitely reflected in how we played during our scrimmages. We’re really looking forward to our Florida trip next week.”
Although she spent most of the year injured, Linzer’s batting average of .348 was the second highest during the Cardinal’s 2014 season. She returns to play third base, joining four of the top seven hitters from last season: Gately (.343, 34 hits, 5 home runs), Roosa (.265, 18 hits), Annalie Walsh-Costello ’17 (.228, 13 hits), and Jamie Hom ’17 (.224, 19 hits). Finishing last year with an ERA of 2.32, Susan Pardo ’16 will be taking on primary pitching duties, and Angelina Massoia ’17 returns as the Cardinals’ utility player.
Pardo was the Cardinals’ ace on the mound again last season, going 7-10 and holding opponents to a mere .263 batting average. She k’d up 165 batters in just 129.2 innings of work, an impressive ratio. Her strikeout numbers placed her second in the conference, and she was fourth in the NESCAC in innings pitched and eighth in earned run average. Pardo now has 317 strikeouts in her two-year Cardinal career and is on pace to break the record in her junior season, as she is just 80 shy of the Wesleyan career record.
“Judging from our preseason practices and scrimmages, I think our season is shaping up to be a really good one,” Massoia said. “Our team loves to be with each other, and it shows on the field.”
The team’s spring break trip to Clermont, Fla., will pit them against a myriad of challenging opponents, including SUNY Oneonta, Western Connecticut State, University of Southern Maine, and NESCAC rival Bowdoin. The Polar Bears went 24-14 last year, and they return All-NESCAC first teamer Adriane Krul—along with sophomore second teamer Emily Griffin, who had 52 hits with a team-high .377 batting average. The Cardinals are 9-15 all time against Bowdoin, with their last win coming last season, 4-0.
In that outing, Pardo pitched a complete game and only allowed 6 hits over the seven innings. More than half of her outs came via the strikeout, 12, and she only walked one batter.
While this NESCAC matchup will be the main draw of the week for many, Mount Ida College will have the first opportunity to test Wesleyan’s preseason preparation. Coach Jen Lane and her roster of 12 are itching for competition; regardless of size, the team remains confident in their ability.
“We have a small team, but every girl can contribute so much that it shouldn’t be a problem,” Massoia said. “If we stay healthy, we are going to be surprising a lot of people in the NESCAC this year.”
Other returning players are Mollie Grunat ’16 (13 hits) and Christina Zaccardi ’17 (8 hits, 3 RBIs). The Cardinals’ lone first-year player is Julie McDonald of Commack, N.Y., who batted .427 in 21 games during her senior year of high school. With Gately providing senior leadership, this sophomore-heavy team looks to use its immense talent and great chemistry to make a splash in NESCACs and beyond.