Lehigh softball will finish their regular season with a pivotal series at home against undefeated Boston University.
Both teams enter the series undefeated in Patriot League play, making playoffs crucial. The series winner on May 6-7 will host the Patriot League tournament.
Boston enters the series as the team with the most success in the Patriot League, riding a 26-game win streak that dates back to March. Since their last loss against Yale on March 21, Boston has swept their series against Holy Cross, Lafayette, Bucknell and Colgate.
The Mountain Hawks enter the series riding a seven-game win streak, ending with conference opponent Holy Cross. Lehigh has also swept their series against Lafayette, Bucknell, Colgate and Army.
Pitching matchups will play a significant role in the series. First-year Chloe Hess and junior Katelyn Young will lead the Mountain Hawks from the mound.
Young, the pitcher in the decisive championship-winning game against Boston last year, said Lehigh can send a confident message with the outcome of this series.
“It’s really important to show our best stuff now so that they know what to expect in the Patriot League Championship and to expect us (to play) on such a high level,” Young said.
The series will feature two of the best offensive players in the Patriot League. Boston junior infielder Kayla Roncin leads the Patriot League in batting average, hitting .435, with Lehigh outfielder Josie Charles following in second, batting .424 on the year.
Charles said she is confident and excited for the upcoming series.
“It’s usually a pretty competitive game,” Charles said. “Our team is going to come in really focused and ready to play.”
In what should be a competitive battle between veteran rosters, emerging first-year players will also play a major role in deciding the series.
Boston has retained most of last year’s roster, losing three starters for this season.
Lehigh lost seniors Jaelynn Chesson, Karsen O’Rourke, Addie Kittel and Gabriella Nori, who were critical starters on last year’s championship-winning team.
Boston will have to account for Lehigh’s newest additions to the roster, as Lehigh second baseman Lily Owens, pitcher Chloe Hess and utility player Sydney Parlett have emerged as standouts for the team.
When asked about the upcoming series, Owens, the three-time Patriot League Rookie of the Week, said the team is not making the moment bigger than it needs to be.
“I have been told all year by upperclassmen and coaching staff to take it one game at a time,” Owens said. “I’ve just been looking at it as another game, another weekend away to play.”
Boston has also seen stellar performances from first-years, including pitcher Kasey Ricard and infielder Brooke Deppiesse. Ricard has started her college career with a record of 18-2, and Deppiesse has started all 53 games, batting .311 on the season.
Young said the team needs to approach these games with calmness to cut through the pressure.
“We just need to play our game,” Young said. “If we pitch the way that we can pitch, if we can play defense the way we know how to and if we hit really well, we’ll be set to play anyone.”
The series starts with a doubleheader on May 6 and ends with the final game on May 7.