While most students are off relaxing, the squad will be heading to Florida for spring training before their season opener against Saint Joseph’s in mid-March.
This vacation, though, won’t be the restful sort. The team has a grueling schedule with 13 games in nine days.
The schedule is no cakewalk, with coach Leslie King describing it as “a super competitive environment with some top teams.”
The trip also offers the Quakers a chance to bond as a team for the first time.
“It’s great for the students to get to know each at a whole different level,” King said.
Coming off the best season in program history, the Quakers have high hopes after coming up just short to Harvard last year.
“Ivy League Championships or nothing,” King said. “Anything short of that, we’ll be disappointed.”
An integral part of this year’s campaign will be senior captain and second basemen Samantha Erosa, who played for the Puerto Rican national team over the summer.
Erosa takes a methodical approach during her at bats, as demonstrated by her .412 weighted on base average a season ago.
“[I’ve been] working on my mental game and just preparing to have a plan when in the box [and knowing] what adjustments to make,” she said.
Over the course of her career, she has refined her approach at the plate, stating that “my freshman and sophomore years, I was one to work the count more” but that now she will be going with an approach that worked well for her last year, “staying aggressive and going after a pitcher with what I get earlier in the count.”
Like many people associated with the Quakers, Erosa is also excited to see a lineup “stacked one through nine” in action this year, one that includes Erosa’s Puerto Rican national teammate, Jessica Melendez.
Melendez, who belted eight home runs last year, will be joined by sophomore ace Alexis Borden — who finished the season with 25 complete games — as well as senior shortstop — and double-play partner — Stephanie Caso.
Crosstown rivals in high school, Caso and Erosa have locked down the middle of the Quakers’ infield.
“We got here, and immediately the chemistry was very noticeable … we know how we play. We know how we move,” Erosa said.
Despite their success last year and lofty expectations for this season, the Red and Blue are careful not to take anything for granted.
“[We] had a good year last year. We got everybody back, but that doesn’t guarantee you anything,” King said. “I think my team is pretty mature in that respect. We’re looking forward to Ivy play, but we have a lot of softball before that comes around.”
But in a game where discipline is everything, the Quakers have already put themselves in a position to succeed.
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