Disappointing season for softball

When the St. John’s softball team swept a double header from Providence on May 1, they had no idea it would be the team’s final weekend of the 2005 campaign.

After a make-up doubleheader with Pittsburgh was canceled, the Red Storm packed up for the summer, failing to post a third consecutive winning season.

St. John’s head coach Debbie DeJong, in her first year in that role, led the team to a 20-30-1 overall.

After winning 28 games in 2004, the Red Storm suffered an eight-game drop-off and a 6-10 Big East record, four less wins than they had in 2004.

The Johnnies suffered their first losing season since 2002 when they finished 23-30 and managed just five Big East wins, with former coach Melody Cope, who left before this season to take an administrative position at Dowling College on Long Island, at the helm.

Although their record may not show it, St. John’s did achieve some major victories including doubleheader sweeps of Rutgers and Providence, in addition to wins against Boston College, Seton Hall, UC Riverside and Appalachian State.

Junior outfielder Jo Sherlock was selected to the 2005 National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Mid Atlantic Region Second Team, her second consecutive selection after making the first team last season.

Sherlock led the Red Storm with eight home runs and 38 RBI to go along with a .301 batting average and 11 doubles.

She currently stands as the school career leader in homers (27) and doubles (41), numbers she will undoubtedly add to in her senior campaign.

In addition to Sherlock’s fine season, senior Allina Sainz and junior Megan Oliver were both selected to the 2005 All-Big East Third Team.

Sainz finished the year with five homers and 32 RBI along with a .297 average.

She was a second team selection last year and walks away from St. John’s as the school’s career leader in RBI (126) and walks (70).

Oliver, meanwhile, hit .308 with 32 runs scored from the led off spot, second best on the squad and 39 hits which is fifth best. Oliver had previously been named to the 2003 All-Rookie Team.

The 2006 version of the St. John’s softball team will look a lot like the 2005 version as the team will only lose two players to graduation.

Jillian Sandoval, who hit .284 with three home runs and 17 RBI, and Sainz, the team’s co-captains, both completed solid four-year careers with St. John’s.

The team entered this year with a large amount of talent, especially an extremely solid batting order. But its pitching, made worse by the loss of starter Kimberly Lerch, was the team’s weakness all season long.

Next year, the middle of the order will be mostly intact and the pitching has a chance to mature. A Big East Tournament berth could be a significant possibility.