The West Chester University Lady Rams have come out blazing early on this season. Through the first month of play, the Lady Rams sit at 13-5 overall.”We have a great group of girls on this team and we have all taken our experiences from last year and grown to succeed this year,” senior infielder Megan Harbaugh said applauding her teammates early season success.
This group of ladies has gone through 18 games this season, including splitting a double-header in West Virginia to begin the season and finishing 6-4 in their Florida trip over spring break.
Picked to finish last in the PSAC Eastern division, the team is looking to again prove everyone wrong just like they did last year. In 2008, the Lady Rams finished in fourth place in the PSAC East, winning a school record 32 games. They also made the NCAA Regional’s for the first time in school history. That turnout has given everyone confidence for this season.
“We are looking forward to again proving everyone wrong,” Harbaugh said.
“We are off to a good start, playing with a lot of confidence,” Head Coach Diane Lokey said. “Our confidence is a carry-over from our record breaking season of 2008.”
The roster is full of talented players. Leading the young Lady Rams this year are senior pitcher Shannon Padula, senior infielder Meghan Halberstadt, senior infielders Kristin McCoy and Harbaugh.
So far this season, these women, along with returning all-conference selection sophomore outfielder Erin McNamee, have put up positive numbers for West Chester.
During the Feb. 24th game against Shepherd, Padula recorded her 45th win of her career. McNamee along with Harbaugh each went 2-3 from the plate on the day. McNamee had an RBI single, while Harbaugh had an impressive RBI double. West Chester defeated Shepherd 6-3 for their first win of the season.
West Chester left their tournament in Claremont, Florida with a satisfactory 6-4 record. The Rams pummeled Salem International 9-1 in a quick and painless, six innings. Harbaugh continued her hot start to the season connecting on her first home run of the season during the game.
The same day, the girls put another “W” under their belt with a score of 9-0 against Concordia College in five innings. The following day, the Golden Rams won against St. Joseph’s (Ind.) College 9-6. In that game, McNamee hit her first homerun of the season to help the Lady Rams get the victory.
To end their trip in Florida, West Chester had a close game with West Virginia Wesleyan, but came away with a 3-0 victory. The improvement from last year is being noticed in the early portion of the season.
“To date we are hitting the ball better at the beginning of this season compared to a year ago,” Lokey said.
West Chester has one goal that they would like to accomplish this season, and it is one they will not hide from anyone.
“Our team has one basic goal and that is to make the PSAC Playoffs for the first time in school history,” Lokey said. “We are working hard each practice and game to make this dream a reality.”
The team is showing these skills not only during their tough practices, but during games as well.
To open the home slate of the schedule, the Lady Rams swept a double-header from Chestnut Hill by a combined score of 18-0. McNamee hit her third leadoff homerun of the season in the first game. Padula pitched a complete game, one-hit shutout, while walking one batter and striking out two others.
In the second game of the double-header, freshman pitcher Samantha Soprano recorded her first shutout of her young West Chester career. She has also won three of her last four starts for the Lady Rams.
Early on this season, the spotlight has been on the West Chester softball team. These girls have proven from last year’s turn-around that even the underdogs can come out on top.
They have followed an outstanding 2008 campaign and started to make a name for themselves early on this season. As Harbaugh says, “We are working hard to make it to PSAC’s and showing everyone what West Chester softball is really all about.”
Jillian Morgan is a second-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at JM652349@wcupa.edu.