Head coach Sue Everden calls senior shortstop Missy Morday (pictured) "one of the best, most versatile players in the program’s history.”
Mordy, Melia Look to Lead Jeffs in 2003
February 14, 2003
With the graduation of the Class of 2001, the 2002 Amherst women’s softball team had to compensate for the loss of leadoff hitter and second baseman Carline Kelly, power-hitting left fielder Meg Nelson, and versatile shortstop Shari Sakamoto. Head coach Sue Everden reshuffled her defense and moved junior former third baseman Missy Mordy into the shortstop slot. Everden gave rookie sophomore Jessica Allen the nod at the hot corner, and rotated her pitching staff between the mound and second base. Sophomore Della Huff took over Nelson’s duties in left field. To score runs, Everden looked to sophomore first baseman Gina Scribner - who was given NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors following a .324 batting average in her debut season - to spark the offense, along with the reliable Mordy and senior co-captain pitcher Lauren Peloquin.
Everden’s strategy paid off, and the squad came out of its nine-game Spring Break stint in Fort Myers, Fla. with a 5-4 record, including a non-league win over NESCAC East Division power Bowdoin College. The Jeffs’ return north sparked a flurry of wins, including a dominating 5-2 victory over perennially strong Clark University on March 28, a 5-4 victory over local rival Smith College on April 1, and a win over regional rival Springfield College on May 1. Along the way, the squad played to a vital 6-2 mark in the NESCAC West division, taking both ends of a March 30 doubleheader against Middlebury College before grabbing two games from host Wesleyan University on April 6. The Amherst contingent went on to lock up a spot in the NESCAC Championship tournament with a doubleheader sweep over Hamilton College on April 13, but lost hosting privileges to Williams College, along with both sides of an April 27 twinbill.
The Jeffs earned the second seed from the NESCAC West in the NCAA bid-deciding conference tournament. Williams joined Amherst in the West bracket, and the East challenged with Bowdoin and Tufts University. Eventual tournament winner Tufts grabbed the first game from Amherst, and the next day the Jeffs bowed to Bowdoin, ending the squad’s 2002 run at a 17-14.
This year’s squad loses two members to graduation, senior co-captain pitcher Lauren Peloquin and her batterymate, senior co-captain catcher Becca Binder. Peloquin shattered nearly every single-season and career pitching record in the Amherst books over her four-year tenure, earning All-America honors as a first-year, NESCAC Player of the Year accolades as a sophomore, and NESCAC Pitcher of the Year honors her junior year, along with All-NESCAC designations all four years. En route to a 1.21 career ERA, Peloquin held opposing teams to a meager .179 batting average, striking out 760 challengers and grooming 32 shutouts, three no-hitters and one perfect game. Binder, who earned the starting spot her junior year, contributed a solid presence behind the plate. She addressed every pitch thrown over two seasons, posting a .991 fielding percentage her junior year to lead the infield, and then matching that her senior year when she racked up a .969 fielding percentage and a .298 batting average. Binder and Peloquin ran up an 81-43 record, including four postseason campaigns, over the course of their stay at Amherst.
Everden will also have to work without two other upperclassmen in 2003: junior Gina Scribner and senior Erin Dittus. Scribner anchored the infield from first base her first- and sophomore year, earning back-to-back All-NESCAC honors, including 2001 NESCAC Rookie of the Year accolades. In 2002, she batted .406 and led the team in nearly every offensive category. Dittus, meanwhile, held the reins in center field since her sophomore year debut, and coordinated a notable defensive effort in the outfield.
The Jeffs look poised for another run into the postseason in 2003, largely behind the strength of an experienced and talented senior class. Senior co-captain Missy Mordy will patrol the infield at shortstop. Mordy has carved a place for herself in the books - head coach Sue Everden called her, “one of the best, most versatile players in the program’s history.” Senior co-captain Emily Melia will take the mound as the squad’s marquee pitcher, after a junior year that landed her a 2.68 ERA. The two will represent a solid core of leadership and four years’ playing experience in the infield. Junior Jess Allen will likely complement Mordy at third base, and sophomore hurler Kathryn Honderd will look to step into the regular pitching rotation behind Melia. Sophomore catcher Kristin Bradley will vie for the starting slot behind the plate. The outfield should also be disciplined, and will feature a host of Amherst veterans. Seniors Tamara Baer and Jenna Obelsky each have two seasons in Everden’s outfield under their belts. Baer’s powerful arm has been a virtual fixture in right field since her sophomore year. Obelsky, meanwhile, has proven herself a solid and dependable outfielder, and Everden will look to her for a stable presence in the lineup. Junior outfielder Della Huff will complement the senior duo nicely, and sophomore outfielders Greta Anderson and Liz Staunton - both coming off of proficient rookie campaigns - will also play integral roles this year.
Baer, Melia and Mordy are expected to lead the Amherst offense. All three had regular spots in the lineup in 2002, and should be able to finish out their collegiate careers on a solid offensive note. Allen, Huff and Obelsky will also be expected to dig into the batter’s box regularly for Amherst. Staunton posed an impressive rookie campaign at the plate, using her speed to move baserunners and maintain rallies. Honderd also saw frequent at-bats as a first-year, and fought her way into the mix. Anderson and Bradley are similarly poised to break into the lineup this spring.
The Class of 2006 is an impressive one for Amherst women’s softball. First-year Miya Warner will join the pitching rotation, and classmate Kate Raddock will make her debut behind the plate, along with fellow first-year catcher Laura Trigeiro. Trigeiro will also contribute as a utility infielder, complementing first-year Sarah Rothbard, who will look for time at first base. Rachel Hoerger will join the outfield ranks. First-year Lauren Grau will also break into the Amherst roster as a utility player.
After playing nearly a third of their season in Fort Myers, Fla. over Spring Break, the Jeffs will head back to Hills Field in Amherst for a four-game homestand culminating in a doubleheader against Hamilton College on March 29 - the first of four NESCAC West doubleheaders vital to the squad’s postseason chances. Amherst will relocate to Northampton to size up Smith College, before hosting NESCAC West and Little Three rival Wesleyan University on April 5. The Jeffs will face off against Mount Holyoke College, Trinity College and Westfield State College, before making the trip to Middlebury College for a division tilt on April 19. The squad will travel again the next weekend for the always-fiercely negotiated doubleheader against Williams College, slated for April 26. The regular season will culminate with a twinbill Senior Day showing against Springfield College on April 30.