Elizabeth Neckes '08
Junior catcher Elizabeth Neckes returns behind the plate after leading last season's squad with a .368 batting average.

Amherst's Rookie Class Adds Significant Depth to Already-Impressive Lord Jeff Squad

February 20, 2007

2006 RECAP
After beginning the 2006 season 0-3 during the Orange County road trip, Amherst won five consecutive games before dropping the final game on the sixth day of the trip. The Jeffs returned to Amherst with great experience under their belts, winning six straight games to improve to 11-4. Amherst posted a 7-4 record over the next 11 games, losing three of those games by only one run and the other by just two runs. Standing at 18-8, the Jeffs faced Williams College in a crucial weekend double-header to close out the regular season. Amherst had a chance to take home the regular season NESCAC West title, but Williams preserved its undefeated season and took both games from the Jeffs.

Amherst earned a #2 seed in the West bracket of the NESCAC tournament and was paired up with the top seed from the East bracket, Tufts University, in the first round. The Jeffs were notched up at 3-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, but Tufts was able to manufacture the game-winning run and send Amherst into the loser’s bracket of the tournament. The Jeffs were involved in another close game in the second round against Trinity College. Trailing 4-0 in the sixth inning, Amherst was able to put three runs together and give Trinity a scare, but the Jeffs could not complete the comeback, as their season ended with a 4-3 loss to the Bantams.

LOSSES
This season’s squad has big shoes to fill after parting with one of the most talented graduating classes in program history. After being tabbed First Team All-NESCAC for the third time in her career and adding her second straight ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District First Team nod, senior hurler Miya Warner added New England Softball Coaches Association Honorable Mention plaudits to her growing arsenal of postseason awards. Warner finished 24th in the nation in strikeouts per seven innings (8.7) and led the NESCAC in strikeouts (156). She also tied for the conference lead in wins (14) and finished fifth in ERA (1.86) and opposing batting average (.200). She was named NESCAC Player of the Week for the period ending April 10 after picking up her ninth and tenth straight wins. Warner graduated with 47 career wins in 71 starts, 18 shutouts, a pair of no-hitters and 603 strikeouts in 507.1 innings, while holding her opponents to a batting average of .188. 

Laura Trigeiro left a huge hole at first base, as she played in and started all 111 of Amherst’s games over the past four seasons. Trigeiro finished her career with 39 RBIs, a .333 batting average and .412 slugging percentage, while striking out only 14 times in 354 at-bats. She was just as impressive in the field, posting a .967 career fielding percentage.

Rachel Hoerger started in 100 of Amherst’s 111 games during her four years, providing a solid bat at the end of the lineup and a consistent glove in the outfield. Her best season came in 2005, when she batted .301 with a .362 on-base percentage, struck out just twice in 73 at-bats, stole five bases and posted a .968 fielding percentage.

Annalise Rodli '07
Senior co-captain Annalise Rodli finished
last season with a .338 batting average

RETURNING PLAYERS
Senior co-captain Annalise Rodli returns a solid bat to the Jeffs’ lineup and should play a significant role in Amherst’s middle infield. Rodli finished last season with a .338 BA, drove in 10 runs and was successful on all six of her stolen base attempts. Senior Caroline Polales will provide the other half of the leadership role at third base. Polales was one of two players to start all 30 games last season, posting a .952 fielding percentage at the corner as one of the finest third baseman Sue Everden has ever coached.

Amherst’s junior class consists of Kelly King, Elizabeth Neckes, Ralina Shaw and Samantha Miller. Neckes will provide a majority of the catching duties and will look to lead the Jeffs at the plate once again after batting .368 last season with a .463 slugging percentage. King will play mostly in the outfield, but could step in to share time with Neckes behind the plate.

Shaw will join Rodli in the middle infield, spending most of her time at second base while providing the Jeffs with another solid bat. While starting in 29 of Amherst’s 30 games last season, Shaw batted .323 with a .527 slugging percentage, belting four home runs and picking up seven doubles. Miller will help fill the void left by Warner, having pitched in eight games last season to finish with a pair of shutouts and a 3.23 ERA.

The six sophomores will cover a lot of ground and have the potential to fill in any gap. Julia Cummings and Alexa Princi batted .279 and .257 last season, respectively, and bring some speed to the base paths, as the two combined for eight stolen bases in 2006. They will both spend most of their time in the outfield, but Cummings has the ability to play second base and Princi may need to step into the first baseman role with the absence of Trigeiro.

Lindsey Harrington started in 26 of the Jeffs’ games last season and provides another solid glove at shortstop, while Holly Trace started in 27 games and will look to split time as a right fielder and catcher. Both Harrington and Trace were successful at the plate last season, as they each picked up 23 hits and combined for 18 RBIs. Emily Bularzik has the potential to play virtually anywhere in the field, as she will spend time as both an infielder and outfielder to give Amherst more depth.

Also looking to fill the void left by Warner is Maddie Tamagni, who appeared in seven games last season as a pitcher. Through 21.2 innings of work, Tamagni struck out 21 batters and recorded a 1.94 ERA with a record of 1-0. She may also see some time at first base this season.

Ralina Shaw '08
Junior Ralina Shaw batted .323 last season with four home runs and a .527 slugging percentage

NEWCOMERS
Amherst will be packed with first-years with the potential to make significant contributions this season. Alexandra Chang-Graham was a great pitcher in high school with nerves of steel and a mature attitude on the mound, and Everden hopes that she can smoothly make the transition to the collegiate level and become the ace that Warner was.

Jacqueline Tyler will be another speedster for the Jeffs with the ability to hit first or second in the lineup, and will spend most of her time in center field. Emily Neill will provide more depth to the infield, and Anne Kelly will share time behind the plate. All five first-year players will be tremendous assets at the plate and on the base paths.

2007 OUTLOOK
The opening nine games in California will be a great challenge for Amherst, as the teams the Jeffs will face are some of the best in Division III with the potential to compete with schools from Division I and II.  The trip out west will be a great way to exploit weaknesses and prepare for the conference schedule, especially the final two games of the trip which are against Babson College and Tufts University, who Amherst met in the NESCAC tournament last season.

Although the squad of 16 is larger than in the past, Everden likes how the team is deeper and faster and expects contributions to come from everyone. The younger players will be forced to play important roles, but Everden is excited to see what they can do in tough situations. She is also looking forward to coaching with Lynn Hersey again, who took over the head coaching duties last season when Everden took on the role of interim athletic director at Amherst. The team will also welcome Michelle DiPolo, who will act as a second assistant and work with the pitchers and catchers.

Amherst has a challenging season ahead, but the Jeffs hope to return from California tougher and ready to charge for a NESCAC title.


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