With nine freshmen on the roster, the softball team has a lot of new faces this season. But the players and coaches believe that with the new faces also comes a new attitude, and with that new attitude come higher expectations.
"I think the freshmen are definitely pushing the upperclassmen and underclassmen alike," said second baseman Erika Mueller '13, also a Herald sports staff writer. "If you're not working hard, there's definitely someone behind you that wants to play."
Many of the freshmen will get a chance to play, and a handful of them will start, said quad-captain Andrea Browne '10. The freshman starters are Stephanie Thompson '13 at third base, Mueller at second base, Avery Silverstein '13 in the outfield and Liz DiMascio '13 on the mound.
But the freshmen aren't the only ones raising the standard of play for this season. The upperclassmen are stepping up to the plate as well and are showing "the younger kids how we play," said quad-captain Amanda Asay '10.
Head Coach DeeDee Enabenter-Omidiji said this is the first season in her four years of coaching Brown softball that the team has had more than two seniors. "There are three seniors. I'm banking on them to offer some great leadership."
On offense, the team is counting on the hitting power of Kate Strobel '12, who led every offensive statistical category last season, according to Enabenter-Omidiji.
"Emily Chaddock ('11) and Kristie Chen ('11) are the key role players in the pitching staff," Asay said.
The Bears lost two dominant defensive players at the end of last season — Kelsey Wilson '09 and Michelle Moses '09. Wilson was a utility player who "played at least four different positions during her four years," while Moses contributed the most to the pitching staff, Enabenter-Omidiji said.
Asay said losing Moses is "not as much of a hit as it would seem because there's a lot more depth to the pitching staff. We're going to use more pitchers" who all have different pitching styles, she said.
With strong individual players in every position, Asay added that "as a whole team, the chemistry is looking good."
Enabenter-Omidiji hopes that this year the Bears can work their way up the Ivy League standings, and Mueller said that she "wants to win the Ivies."
The softball team's season begins Saturday at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County for the UMBC Retriever Classic.
"We've been in the gym for the past month" due to poor weather conditions, Browne said. "We're excited to play, finally, outdoors."