The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Softball starts off hot in Big East play

Photo Courtesy/Athletic Communications
Photo Courtesy/Athletic Communications

After entering conference play with a 12-10 record, the St. John’s softball team has won ten of their last 13, including series sweeps over Providence, Creighton and Butler, putting them atop the conference standings.

After a rough opening weekend schedule, which included games against now #1 ranked Florida and #19 Michigan, the Johnnies have found their groove as the season hits the home stretch.

Aside from one loss to out-of-conference opponent Iona, the Johnnies have only dropped two games to DePaul and have beaten their Big East rivals by a combined 51 runs.

“It’s got a lot to do with our pitching staff, we have four really solid pitchers,” said Head Coach Amy Kvilhaug. The team’s pitching staff has been led by McKenzie Murray, who boasts a 7-1 record with a 2.78 ERA.

Madison Morris and Tori Free both have ERA’s under 4.00, and Grace Kramer is second on the team with 62 strikeouts while only walking 20 batters. Kvilhaug found it important that one of the four pitchers could have a bad day because she had three others that could get the job done.

Three of the four pitchers have registered two saves, a feat which Coach Kvilhaug claims is unheard of, and is something that she believes demonstrates her staff’s talent.

In addition to the pitching, Kvilhaug also believes that the emergence of some of the freshmen on the team has contributed in a big way to the team’s midseason success.

The team’s leading hitter, Kaitlin Mattera, has a .389 batting average, and a .467 average in conference games.

Mattera has been far from a one dimensional player this season for the Red Storm. “She’s been able to learn to catch four extremely experienced pitchers with different tendencies with little problems,” said Kvilhaug, adding that the Rhode Island native is naturally smart and her easy-going demeanor allows her to take criticism in stride and learn.

In addition to Mattera, Gretchen Bowie has seen immediate success in her first season in Queens.

She’s started all 35 games this season, leads the team in home runs, and has 37 hits, good for second on the team. Bowie has a team leading .642 slugging percentage and has been used as a utility player all season long.

Despite the success of the freshmen, the team has seen production from everyone on the roster, including a group of ten upperclassmen.

Senior Monique Landini and junior Savannah Warren lead the way with a combined 70 hits 195 at-bats. Juniors Lauren Zick and Hannah Anderson are both batting above .300.

The versatility of the team is something that Kvilhaug stressed. She said she has different lineups for speed purposes, power hitting, and defense. This allows her to strategize and put a lineup out that matches the opponent well, no matter the strengths of the other team.

The early tests against Florida and Michigan showed that the team could compete with anyone, but Kvilhaug noted that confidence is not something that this team needs.

The team also scheduled teams like Tulsa, and Oklahoma St., who have high RPI’s in order to play the most competitive schedule possible.

The main theme that the team preaches is consistency. Kvilhaug wants the team to focus on winning the remaining series in hopes of getting a top four seed in the Big East Tournament next month.

The team closes out conference play with series against Georgetown and Seton Hall.The Red Storm lost a weekend series at home aginst Villanova.

The team is still set to play two non-conference games, the first against Fairleigh Dickinson on April 26, and one against New York City rival Fordham on May 3.

The Johnnies are seeking their first Big East title since 2015.

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About the Contributor
Brendan Myers, Sports Editor
Brendan Myers is a junior journalism major with a minor in sport management. He spent his sophomore year as both a staff writer and Assistant Sports Editor before stepping into the Sports Editor role. As Sports Editor, Brendan wants to create a section that allows readers to learn about the personality behind the athletes as St. John’s, as well as keep them up to date on all things Red Storm sports. He plans to increase the digital content and introducing video recaps as well as game-film reviews so fans can get a look at St. John’s sports like they’ve never had before. Have any questions? Email Brendan at [email protected] 

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