By: Greg Levinsky
Coming off a third Patriot League title in four seasons, the Boston University softball team begins their 2019 campaign on Feb. 8 at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic in Conway, SC. The Terriers play 27 games across five tournaments over February and March before spending the second half of the year playing league games and local foes.
As announce by the league office, the Terriers were picked to finish first in the Patriot League, receiving 12 of 14 first place votes. Three players were named to the preseason All-League team, including reigning Conference Player of the Year, Alex Heinen and Pitcher of the Year, Ali DuBois. Madi Killebrew also received a preseason All-League nod. Reigning Coach of the Year Ashely Waters returns for her fourth season at the helm.
🥎 The @PatriotLeague preseason poll and awards were announced on Thursday, and @TerrierSoftball was selected as the 2019 favorite to win their fourth championship. @WatchStadium pic.twitter.com/EaOQBJemG1
— Patriot League Network | PatriotLeague.tv (@PatriotLeagueTV) January 31, 2019
Heinen caught every pitch of a 2018 season in which the Terriers went 39-20, including an incredible 15-3 in conference play. The senior captain batted a league-best .355 and collected a league-best 50 RBIs in her junior campaign.
Killebrew, a senior infielder, erupted in her junior year by batting .310 with four home runs and 34 RBIs. Classmates Emily Morrow (All-League Second Team) and Alexa Ponce also return and figure into the starting lineup.
BU graduated four of its top eight hitters, all of whom were All-Patriot League Honorees. Jilee Schanda, Brittany Younan, Emma Wong and Kaitlin Sahlinger all were key to last year’s championship run and are now in their post-softball careers.
Sophomores Jen Horita and Marina Sylvestri played in about half of the games last year, and should factor in more this season. Horita is a speedster and dynamic in the field, while Sylvestri displayed some power and discipline at the plate.
Freshman Emily Gant is expected to play two-ways in the outfield and in the circle. Freshmen Nicole Amodio, Bella Gargicevich-Almeida and Aliyah Huerta-Leipner impressed in fall games and practices this winter.
DuBois was both the league’s Pitcher and Rookie of the Year after compiling a 28-8 mark in the circle with a 2.02 ERA and a league-best 192 strikeouts in 225.2 innings pitched. The sophomore returns to an experienced staff that returns two other multi-year contributors in juniors Kali Magane and Lizzie Annerino.
WTBU Sports will provide more detailed coverage when the team returns for the second part of the season with games concentrated in the Northeast.
Greg Levinsky can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky