While Lehigh’s softball team won both the 2013 and 2014 Patriot League regular season titles, its tournament results were not as strong and the team didn’t win a championship either year. With a six-game winning streak to begin the season, however, the team is already off to a strong start.
The Hawks are standing with a 16-3 record, winning against teams such as Georgetown University, Florida A&M University, Central Michigan University and the University of Pennsylvania.
The team will begin playing against its Patriot League competitors at the end of this month, beginning with rival Lafayette College, after its initial doubleheader against Boston University was postponed due to snow.
The team is composed of some of the top Patriot League players from last season, including the Pitcher of the Year, senior Emily Bausher, the Player of the Year, junior third baseman Morgan Decker and the Defensive Player of the Year, junior second baseman Alexis Watanabe.
Coach Fran Troyan, although proud of his athletes for their achievements last season, said he also feels that there is no correlation between last season and the present season.
“Awards like that are always nice, but all the awards do is motivate the other teams (in the league),” Troyan said. “Unfortunately, what we did last year has very little to do with that we have to do this year.”
The returning Patriot League Coach of the Year holds his team to a high expectation and believes the key to getting the job done is focus.
“For our particular group, we just need to focus on a daily basis and get a little better every day,” Troyan said. “We don’t focus on winning and losing, we focus on getting better and the results should take care of themselves.”
The team has been recognized several times this season thus far with a number of weekly awards, including freshman outfielder Nicole Yozzo’s Patriot League Rookie of the Week, junior infielder/outfielder Jessica Calvini’s Player of the Week, and Bausher’s Patriot League Pitcher of the Week honors.
With the league games approaching, senior catcher and co-captain Brandi Hawkins said she believes it is not only vital that the athletes are on point, but also the coaching staff, as well. Utilizing their competitor’s weaknesses seems to be a key component to the Mountain Hawks’ success, as well as preparing for their opponents’ strengths.
“(The coaches) spend a lot of time putting together scouting reports and making sure that we know the strengths and weaknesses of each team that we face,” Hawkins said. “As players, we try as best we can to work on certain aspects of the game that will help us be more successful against specific teams. For example, if we are facing a pitcher who throws mostly curveballs, our focus at practice will be on driving the outside pitch.”
The Mountain Hawks have six Patriot League opponents, playing each team three times during the regular season before the tournament. Bausher said she is excited to begin playing against her Patriot League opponents and said she will do all she can for her team when it comes time to play and get a championship.
This season, the team is using the motto “EAT,” standing for “Everyday All Together.”
“We plan to bring home the trophy to Lehigh and keep it here,” Bausher said.
Lehigh will be playing a doubleheader against Lafayette on Saturday in Easton at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.