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Season Preview: Softball Motivated For Another Chance at Centennial Championship

Rachel Wolfson
Rachel Wolfson

Senior Captain's Interview

HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College softball team has consistently been one of the top squads for the Centennial Conference in recent memory with four trips to the championship game during the past six seasons. With last year's bid at a fourth Centennial Conference Championship in program history denied due to inclement weather, the Fords appear to have the talent and motivation to make another run at the conference crown this spring.

Haverford returns six of its eight positional starters from the 2018 season and all three of its pitchers who saw time in the circle last spring. Haverford's seniors, Julia Blake and Rachel Wolfson, were both part of Haverford's last conference championship team that hoisted the conference trophy in 2016 en route to the program's deepest NCAA run in program history. As first-years on that team, they helped guide the Fords to an appearance at the NCAA Super Regional. Both are three-year starters looking to bookend their careers with another championship.

With the most experienced middle infield you will find, Blake is a three-time All-Centennial Conference performer at second base, earning first-team honors in 2017. She led the Centennial Conference in batting average (.434) and on-base percentage (.525) a season ago and already ranks among the program's top 10 players in 10 different offensive categories for her career and will surely add to that total in the coming season. Wolfson has started all 111 games at shortstop during the past three seasons. She finished last season with career highs in batting average (.323), on-base percentage (.318), and slugging percentage (.424). Wolfson already ranks among the program's top 10 players in career home runs while also excelling defensively as she is coming off a season where she posted a .946 fielding percentage.

In the circle, junior Temma Levis was an honorable mention All-Centennial Conference selection as she went 11-5 with a 2.49 ERA in 2018. She pitched a complete game in 13 of her 20 starts while coming on for a save during her two relief appearances. Levis kept improving throughout the year, capped by her shutout of McDaniel during the first game of the Centennial Conference Tournament. Classmate Briana Quinn was the game two starter last season as she posted five wins in the circles over 63 innings. She pitched three complete games and had one additional save. Sophomore Johanna Batterton provided the Fords a third option in the circle as all but one of her appearances came in relief. Nevertheless, she was 5-1 with one save during those 14 appearances. Batterton won her only start in the circle and did not allow an earned run during seven of her 13 relief appearances.

In the field for the junior class, Ashley Sisto was an honorable mention All-Centennial Conference centerfielder in 2017 and will enter her third season as the starter. Sisto has a career .289 batting average and has gotten on base at a .389 clip throughout her career. She led the team in walks drawn last season while ranking third in both runs scored (20) and stolen bases (8). Classmate Marybeth Stone had a standout year at first base after transferring into the program. In her first season with the Fords, Stone ranked second on the team with 22 RBI, while finishing third in batting average (.347) and on-base percentage (.407).

Haverford's sophomore class features two more returning starters in addition to Batterton's presence in the circle. Emma Souter was the starting catcher last season and led the Centennial Conference with a .699 slugging percentage while also leading Haverford with 29 RBI, 12 doubles, five home runs, and 65 total bases. She batted .409 and posted a .466 on-base percentage. Souter may move to a more natural infield position this spring to fill the graduation void of All-Centennial Conference performer Jessica Koshinski '18. Nicole Swisher assumed the leadoff spot and a starting job in the outfield during her rookie season as she led the Fords in stolen bases (9) while scoring 27 runs. Swisher batted just a point under .300 for the season with 12 multi-hit games. Allison Mackenzie appears to be a strong candidate to fill the outfield slot left by the graduations of Alex Craig '18 and Emily Gorman '18. Mackenzie appeared in 23 games last year. She served primarily as a pinch-runner where she scored three runs, but did make three starts in the outfield.

Haverford will also welcome five new players to the roster in head coach Kate Poppe's second season. Phoebe May could pave the way to Souter moving into the infield while Emily Reinstadtler gives the Fords another pitching option in the circle. Michelle Kaplan will vie for time in the outfield while Maya Casey and Genevieve Dallmeyer-Drennen fill utility roles and will look to contribute in a number of different facets.

The Fords finished last season with a 21-12 record, including a 9-7 mark in Centennial Conference play. Haverford opens its season on Tuesday, March 5 at Rowan before heading to Florida that weekend to take part in 10 games down south during the College's spring break. Haverford went 9-1 at home last spring on the Class of '95 Field. The 2019 home opener is set for Tuesday, March 19 against Immaculata. Haverford is slated to play seven home doubleheaders throughout the regular season.