BY JAMES SMITH
As the March winds bring in the warmer weather, the sound of pinging bats and popping mitts resonate through Jaroshack Field. The bright yellow ball is thrown around the infield with authority and a new sense of confidence, as the Peahens get ready for their conference schedule.
The Peahens are looking for a quick turnaround from last season, when they finished a dismal 2-36 overall, and 1-15 overall in the MAAC Conference.
“We are looking past last season, and looking forward to our games next week in Florida,” said freshman catcher Chelsea Crews. “These next few games will be a great test for us going into MAAC play.”
The Peahens are led by Coach Renae Bart, who is in her second season as head coach of the team. Before her coaching job here at Saint Peter’s, she played softball at Seton Hall University, and she was an assistant coach at MAAC rival Rider University.
“Our goal this year is to get into the MAAC Championship tournament,” said Bart. “Our team is working hard and hustling every day to make sure we can attain that goal.”
The two veteran leaders on the team are senior infielder Nicole Schnecker and senior outfielder Jill Magee, who have seen a lot of changes in their four years. The two have gone through three coaching changes and position changes.
“I went from an infielder/pitcher, to utility player, to solely pitching, and to solely infield,” said Schnecker. “It’s a lot to work on, but this year, I’m confident in Coach Bart’s decisions.”
Along with experience, comes youth to groom and train for the future; and the Peahens have a lot of new talent. Nine of the eighteen-man roster for the Peahens are freshmen, and they look to contribute in any way possible to get wins.
“It doesn’t matter to me where I am on the field,” said freshman Nicole Olmedo, “as long as I can contribute and we win, I’ll be happy.”
Statistically, the freshmen are doing quite well. Krystine Rice is hitting .313 in the first eight games of the season, and next best is Olmedo with a .222 average. The two freshmen also lead the team in hits, doubles, and on base percentage.
“[Rice and Olmedo] have been doing a great job with the bats for us so far,” said coach Bart, “and I expect them to continue hitting all season.”
“Our toughest challenge is going to be Iona this year,” said Magee. “They won it all last year, and if we can compete with them, we know we can get to the MAAC tournament.”
You can follow this week’s game coverage from the Rebel Spring Game sin Kissimmee, Florida on twitter by following @RebelSpringGame.