In the program's third season as a varsity team, Amherst College Softball has compiled a 26-22-1 record in its first two years. Under the direction of first year head coach Don Faulstick, this year's team looks to continue its recent success and build a tradition of excellence.
Senior co-captain Sam Ince returns as the team's best hitter, registering a .398 average with 3 home runs and 32 RBI last season. Third-baseman Sandy Accordino brings a .327 average into her sophomore season, along with a perfect 18-18 stolen bases last year. The speed and power of Jeff batters will be an added weapon to the Amherst offense.
Defensively, rookie Allison Schwarting and Co-Captain Jen Shea comprise the heart of a formidable pitching staff. Last year while Schwarting weighed Division I offers against an Amherst education, Shea pitched 13 complete games with a 4.88 ERA. The junior threw 58 strikeouts, including 13 against Endicott College to set a school record. Sarah Rinaldi returns as a seasoned catcher that led the team with 83 put-outs in 1996 for a .917 fielding percentage.
With its strongest recruiting class so far, Amherst will have a young infield with the talent to make big plays when the Jeffs need it. Junior Martha Rabbitt (.250 avg, .863 fielding pct) brings two years of experience to second-base. Rookies Liza Feldman, Schwarting and sophomore transfer Emily Shore look to split time at shortstop while fellow frosh Darcy Sweeney has claimed a start at first-base. First-year Meghan Henderson will keep Accordino on her toes to compete for third-base.
The team will gauge its post-season prospects on their spring trip, where the Jeffs will face a series of tough opponents. Playing 10 games in just seven days with four double-headers, Amherst will round out the week facing Teikyo Post and Buffalo State, two periennially strong squads.