Softball team holds historic run, team poised for a strong 2019 season



Saint Anselm softball team celebrates one of its many wins of their 2018 season.

Devin Bergeron, Sports Editor

By the time most of the students at Saint A’s had left the hilltop and made their way back home a select group of people remained on campus. Nineteen of Saint A’s own were in Salem, Virginia competing for the NCAA Division II National Championship. Last season’s softball team made history, becoming the first ever Saint Anselm athletics program to reach a national championship.

While their record breaking season may have gone largely unnoticed on campus, that did not stop the team from putting on a historic run deep into May.

Heading into the 2018 season, the team’s future seemed anything but certain. After a 18-16 2017 campaign the Hawks were heading into the new season with only five combined juniors and seniors. However with accomplished head coach Jill Gagnon at the helm, and a throng of young talent to boot, the team looked to do damage in Division II. The team won their first game against West Chester 4-1 in the 2018 Snowbird Freeze Out, but dropped their second game to Slippery Rock later that day losing 5-4. Saint A’s would go on to win their next three games to close out the opening month of February with a 4-1 record.

Coming out in March the team hit a bit of a road bump and lost three of their first four games. They struggled to get out of this lull for a little while, and by mid-March it did not seem like this was a team poised for a deep run. It was at that moment however, that things started to get rolling for the squad. They ended March on a hot streak winning six of seven and carried that momentum into April.

During the month of April the Hawks were nothing short of a force to be reckoned with. They would only lose one game the entire month, while racking up a historic 17 wins. They fell to Pace in the Northeast-10 Championship Semifinal 2-0, but the team was far from over.

Taking on Merrimack in the NCAA East Regional match they grabbed a 3-2 victory. They won the next two regional games 3-1 and 4-3 against Southern New Hampshire University and Merrimack respectively. Moving on to the NCAA Super Regionals they picked up a pair of wins against LIU Post, discarding them in two games.

From there they traveled on to Salem, Virginia for the Division II Championship games. They picked up their biggest win of the season in a well fought nine-inning bout against eighth-ranked Southern Arkansas by a score of 2-1. After taking down number-25 Saint Leo they had to take on Southern Arkansas again, who was battling for their survival. The Hawks would not be so fortunate the second time around and suffered their first loss of the NCAA Championship. But, Saint A’s would get their shot at revenge on Southern Arkansas once more for the right to compete in the National Championship. A brilliant performance turned in by sophomore pitcher Morgan Perry gave the Hawks the 3-0 win, and advanced them to the title game.

Taking on Southern Indiana in the Championship, the Hawks were dealt their first back-to-back losses to the same opponent of the season and lost both games 8-3 and 4-0.

Senior outfield Amanda Bickford was the lead slugger all season and carried a team leading .406 batting average and 88 hits. Senior catcher Megan Murrell led the team with 51 RBI’s while Perry played the role of ace, carding 26 wins and 184 strikeouts.

The team undoubtedly put Division II softball on notice and with the brunt of the lineup returning for the 2019 season, the Hawks are poised for another deep run this season- only this time they will hopefully get the attention they deserve.