Softball Sets Sights on Postseason
Issue   |   Tue, 03/13/2012 - 22:16

The Amherst softball team heads into the upcoming season looking for its first playoff berth in six years after being shutout of the NESCAC tournament five times since 2006. With the return of its top four hitters and two best pitchers and the addition of a promising first-year class, the Jeffs are confident they can accomplish that goal.

After sitting out last season with an injury, Carly Dudzik ’12 will lead this year’s team as captain. Dudzik, who was named NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2009, was a significant loss to the Jeffs last year. As the starting shortstop her first-year she led the team in batting average, runs scored, hits and on-base percentage and ranked among conference leaders in almost every category. Her sophomore year proved no different, as she led Amherst in home runs, RBIs and runs scored. Dudzik’s return will be crucial to the Jeffs’ success on the field this season.

Reilly Horan ’13 will also play an important role in the infield for Amherst this season.

As a first-year, Horan led the Jeffs in batting average and doubles before posting 21 RBIs and a .347 batting average her sophomore season. The infielder also led Amherst in at-bats, striking out only seven times at the plate.

Horan’s classmate Theresa Kelley ’13 will anchor the pitchers this season after earning ALL-NESCAC honors as sophomore. Kelley led the league in strikeouts, innings pitched and appearances while carrying a 2.36 earned run average.

She also held her opponents to a .242 batting average, tallied 10 or more strikeouts in five different games and struck out an average of 7.7 batters per seven innings.

The junior functioned as one of the team’s top hitters last season, leading Amherst in runs scored, walks and on-base percentage and finishing second in batting average and RBIs.

Returning from an impressive rookie season, the three sophomores will provide depth and skill to the Amherst team this year. Carolyn Miller ’14 finished last season with a .306 batting average, hitting two home runs and five RBIs in her first four games while batting .385 during a 15-game hitting streak.

Miller will play an important role in both the outfield and the left side of the infield.

As a first-year, Kaitlin Silkowitz ’14 had big shoes to fill in center field after the Jeffs graduated Jackie Tyler ’10, one of the best players in Amherst history. Silkowitz took control, however, finishing with a .949 fielding percentage after committing zero errors in her first 23 games.

Arielle Doering ’14 also made an impact as the team’s number two pitcher last season, striking out 13 batters in her first two appearances. In those games she managed a 0.62 ERA, allowing only one run in 11.1 innings.

Representing half of the roster the season, the six incoming first-years make up one of the most promising classes in Coach Sue Everden’s career.

Caroline Sealander ’15 will join the pitching staff, while Kelsey Ayers ’15 takes over as catcher with an accurate arm and quick insticts.

Idalia Friedson ’15 will make her mark on the outfield next to classmates Donna Leet and Karina Kossler, who will provide options for Amherst as left-handed hitters. Alyssa Sherwill ’15 will also make an immediate impact as both a power hitter and an infielder.

Last season Amherst fell just short of the playoffs after losing to Williams in a close three-game series. After grabbing an 8-4 victory in the opener the Jeffs were one out away from a playoff spot, but the Ephs battled back and swept both games, edging out Amherst for the postseason berth.

Looking to avenge last year’s loss, the Jeffs begin their quest for the playoffs this season on Saturday, March 17, at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic in Fort Myers, Fla. Among others, Amherst will play Worcester State and Smith on the trip.