Middletown, CT --- The Worcester State softball team has been ranked #10 in this year's 2012 New England Intercollegiate Softball Coaches Association (NEISCA) preseason poll.
Last season the Lancers shared the regular season MASCAC title, won their first-ever MASCAC Tournament Championship and made their first NCAA Division III Tournament appearance since 1987.
2011 New England Regional Champion Eastern Connecticut was voted into the top spot followed by Coast Guard, Keene State, Springfield and Middlebury. Western Connecticut was slotted sixth followed by Tufts, St. Joesph's (Maine) and Western New England. Babson and the University of New England also received votes.
Worcester State will be paced this season by junior Hannah Everson (Methuen, MA – RHP) who will anchor the starting rotation. Everson was second in the MASCAC with a 1.56 earned run average with a 10-3 record and 86 strikeouts in 90 innings. She was also ranked fifth in the conference in win and opposing batting average (.216) whiel she was also sixth in strikeouts.
Coming back to the squad will be four hitters who hit .300 or better including All-MASCAC selections Lauren Besozzi (Milford, MA - OF), Erica Cordio (Leominster, MA – SS) and Ashley Howe (Winchendon, MA – C). Howe batted .330 with 34 runs scored – a total that led the team and was second in the MASCAC. Cordio hit .304 with 38 hits and Besozzi clubbed .300 a year ago as they helped the Blue and Gold finish the year leading the league in hitting.
Junior Aimee Lamoureux (E. Brookfield, MA – 2B) did a little bit of everything swatting a .319 clip with six doubles, three homers, 24 RBIs and a .504 slugging percentage. Lamoureux was ranked fourth in the MASCAC in RBIs, sixth in total bases (57), eighth in slugging and ninth in hits (36). Classmate Alex Kerr (Franklin, MA – 3B) also paced the squad with 11 doubles, which was fourth in the conference overall.
The infield trio of Lamoureux, Cordio and Kerr made just 24 miscues in 384 chances to help WSU top the conference in fielding percentage at the end of the season (.960).
Also returning to this year's club will be senior quad-captain Jaime Jacobs (Billerica, MA – 1B) who was second on the squad in walks (16) and sophomore Carolyn Hassett (Charlton, MA – OF) who anchored centerfield.
Along with sophomore's Hillary Hart (Clinton, MA – IF/OF) and Kelly Winter (Attleboro, MA – IF/RHP), first-year teammates Carla Clement (Townsend, MA - IF), Kaitlyn Storro (Leominster, MA – IF/OF) and Taylor Hanley (Wilmington, MA – IF/OF) figure to see action in the field all over the diamond.
The rotation will be rounded out by Winter, junior Melissa Beaudry (Worcester, MA/St. Peter-Marian - RHP) and freshman Katie Roy (Worcester, MA/Burncoat - RHP). Beaudry is 4-4 in her two seasons with a 3.02 ERA in 60 innings while Roy will make an immediate impact as a starting pitcher and at first base.
The team will make play 10 games on their annual spring training trip to Fort Myers, Florida before they begin a competitive non-conference northern schedule that includes NCAA participants Rhode Island College at home (March 29) and Western Connecticut on the road (April 19) along with ECAC semifinalist Brandeis (April 26) and NESCAC semifinalist Trinity (April 30) in the friendly confines Rockwood Park.
Worcester State opens their conference slate with Co-MASCAC Regular Season Champion Westfield State on March 31 in Westfield. WSU's home opener is against RIC.
Along with Jacobs, Besozzi, Cordio and Howe will be this year's team captains.