[Photo courtesy of Tony Lee ]
By Rebecca Gunning, Staff Writer, @beck2042
The St. Bonaventure softball team began their season this weekend in South Carolina with four games, going 1-3.
The lone win came in a 6-3 victory over Detroit.
Before opening their season, the Bonnies were pegged in 9th in the Atlantic 10 Conference’s coaches poll.
The team does not let preseason poll position bother them.
“We use it as motivation, always picked as an underdog,” said senior catcher Brooke Frey.
Head coach Mike Threehouse felt his team should have been placed higher.
“We’ve never finished lower than 8th, so that’s an interesting pick,” said Threehouse.
Last season, the team won just 13 of their 33 games, including an 8-12 record in conference play. While they performed well offensively, ranking in the middle of the pack, their defense was less then stellar.
The Bonnies had the worst fielding percentage in the conference at .938, but are working to ensure that’s not the case this season.
The players dedicated much of their practice time to fielding and Threehouse believes it will no longer be a downfall of the team.
“We’re not gonna finish last in fielding this year, I promise,” Threehouse said.
The Bonnies will travel plenty this season, having only 12 scheduled home games.
Inclement weather last season forced the Bonnies to adopt a “Road Warrior” mentality.
“I think last year really will help us out because we were on the road literally every weekend. We had no time off and over 10 hour drives everywhere,” said sophomore pitcher Jennifer Sansano.
Sansano played a big role on the team last season. She led the team in innings pitched and beat four out of the six teams that made it to the A-10 Championships.
Sophomore shortstop Ashley Snider led all rookies in the A-10 in home runs and was selected to the A-10 Rookie Team.
Junior Jessenia Andujar also supplied some pop, hitting four home runs to go along with 20 RBI’s.
The team expects nothing less from this years freshmen.
“They’ve been impressive and add a really great dimension to the team so we’re excited to see them play in games,” Frey remarked.
But more impressive was Frey’s play last season.
She ranked 8th in the conference in batting average and in the top five of virtually every offensive category on the team.
Not only are her power numbers impressive, blasting five home runs last season, but she has great plate discipline as well, sitting near the top of the conference in walks despite playing less games.
Because of those stellar numbers, Frey was voted to the A-10 Preseason All-Conference team. If last season is any indication, she will only get better this season.
But she is not getting ahead of herself.
“Even though it’s a good name and a good title to have, it still doesn’t really predict anything this season so I still gotta go out there with a clean slate like nothing ever happened,” Frey explained.
Threehouse knows that she is one key to the team’s success.
“If she even has close to the year she had last year, she’s going to carry us a long way,” Threehouse said of Frey.
The other key to success is pitching.
And for the Bonnies that means discussing Sansano.
After a tremendous freshman campaign, Threehouse has his expectations set high.
“She’s a year older, a year smarter, a year more experienced,” he said. “She’s going to throw a lot more innings than she did last year so she’ll be our go to girl all year long.
The A-10 will once again be tough, but the Bonnies have a lot to be optimistic about.
If their defense and pitching improve, as they should, and the offense picks up where it left off last season, St. Bonaventure can surprise and finish ahead of their predicted finish.