DeRosa leading freshman charge
Matt Gad—Sports Writer
This year’s softball squad has seen an offensive jolt from its incoming freshman class, including from infielder Liz DeRosa.
She said her relationship with her fellow freshmen teammates has really been important.
“We have a bond coming in and working together, and the upperclassmen have been really supportive,” she said. “They’ve been helping us whenever we need help, and everyone’s just one big family.”
DeRosa, who comes out of Hudson, N.H and is pursuing a degree in exercise science, has been batting .313 with seven runs, 21 hits and ten RBI in 67 plate appearances.
“Coming in as a freshman some people don’t always start so I wanted to work as hard as I possibly could to earn a spot,” DeRosa said. “Throughout the fall I took reps and when the spring came I had a starting spot which made me want to work harder to keep it, especially when I started to play better.”
Junior infielder Sara Buscetto, who has been on the team for all three of her years at Southern, said she is able to give the freshmen some insight on what to expect with the ins and outs of college softball.
“I do know how the games go but, for the most part, the [freshmen] have made it so easy to lead them because they’ve done such a good job,” she said. “They’ve come in, played their roles the right way and they’ve gotten the job done for us.”
Coach Jill Rispoli said DeRosa is a “free swinger” who wants to hit the ball hard and be a great teammate.
“Across the board, our freshmen have been wonderful offensively and defensively and they’re full of energy and passion for the sport,” Rispoli said. “But you don’t get that without great leadership from people like Sara Buscetto and Maddie Freshler, our two captains.”
In addition to DeRosa, fellow freshman infielder Jacqueline Dumont is another name that has made significant strides early on in her Owls career by hitting .314 with eleven runs and 22 hits.
“You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and these next four years with that group is going to be fantastic,” Rispoli said. “We’ve been fortunate these last few years to bring in some wonderful kids.”
Four of the team’s five freshmen have starting spots, on rotation, but she said they all bring different things to the table.
“Liz balances out between third base and designated hitter, but a lot of our freshmen are getting a lot of playing time, which is great for the future,” Rispoli said. “It may not be resulting in as many wins as we want now, but we know they’ll have a lot more experience and be much more comfortable later on.”
Despite the team only reaching four wins at this point, they have been competitive in a number of the games they have played so far, including some one-run losses, such as a 6-5 defeat to New Haven March 26 and a 5-4 loss to American International College last Sunday.
“The wins and tight games are a big confidence booster and even when we don’t win we’re still hitting the ball hard and making great plays,” Buscetto said. “We’re not gonna win every game but [close games] boost the confidence of the team and it pushes us to come back the next game to work just as hard.”
Going forward, DeRosa said she is focused on doing what is needed of her to act in the best interest of the team.
“If there’s a runner on third or a runner on second my goal is to score that runner,” she said. “Obviously, my goal is to have a higher batting average, but if my goal is to score the runner at third then I’ll purposely place the ball where it’s needed to score. Everything will just come naturally if I play like I know how to play.”