The Bates softball team has had an impressive regular season, culminating with a sweep of rival Colby this past weekend. With their 20-13 record (5-7 in the NESCAC), they are headed to the NESCAC tournament. On this success, captain Tori Fitzgerald ’18 says, “This season has been a huge turning point for the program. We have had so many big moments this year, from beating Tufts for the first time in over a decade, to setting a new program record for most wins in a season and making NESCACs. We have been extremely successful this year and have really set new expectations for the program.”  The team’s 20-13 record is two wins more than they had ever had before. Fitzgerald continues, “I think our success has made us realize how we are not expected to just compete in every game, but also to win any game we are in. This is a new mindset and really shows how the expectations of the team have changed.”

Also notable is that not only did they set a new win record, but also the Bobcats doubled their win total from last season, a sharp improvement in the span of only a year. Kirsten Pelletier ’20 says, “We’ve doubled our wins from last season so I think that shows the dedication and work we put in all throughout the offseason. I also think that this season is just a start to where we want the program to be.” Clearly, all of this team’s goals have not yet been met, as they are dedicated to performing to the best of their ability.

That was showcased at Colby this weekend, as they won the first game on Saturday 11-3. In this game, Mary Collette ’21 had three RBIs, while Caroline Bass ’21 and Mimi Crowley ’19 each had two. Three other Bobcats also batted in runs. In game two, Bates won 1-0 behind a strong pitching performance by Pelletier. She went seven innings, allowing only two hits and no walks while striking out eight. Colby played well also, but ultimately Paige Ahlohm ’18 made all the difference with a home run in the top of the fourth.

All of this success, both against Colby and throughout the whole season, would not have been possible without such strong play from a variety of players. Fitzgerald spoke to this, saying, “There have been points in the season where every single player has had to step up and has played a role in our success. We are a very young team and I am so impressed with how all of the freshmen have transitioned and become so impactful. Caroline Bass, who is a freshman and our starting left fielder , has had an amazing season. She recently just broke a program record for most hits in a season. She is also a very solid outfielder and incredibly reliable. Our pitchers, Kirsten Pelletier, Payton Buxton, and Jevan Sandhu have all also been great. We would not be able to be as successful without their performances.”

Clearly, this season has been a total team effort. Pelletier also pointed out the great play of a number of the same players, adding, “The entire team has stood out and each one of us are an integral part of our success.”

As her time with the program comes to a close, Fitzgerald says, “It’s definitely sad to know that my career as an athlete is ending, but I am so grateful to be going out with such a great last season. Being on the softball team at Bates has been the most influential part of my time at Bates and I am so happy that I got this opportunity. I’ll absolutely miss it next year, but the softball team is only getting better from here so I can’t wait to keep cheering them on.” Before that, however, there is the NESCAC tournament. Starting this Friday, the team will take on Amherst.