The softball team chose senior catcher Kallista Leonardos and senior shortstop Alena Jones as team captains for the 2019 season.
Head coach Phil McElroy said the coaching staff focuses on selecting upperclassmen who demonstrate leadership. The softball coaches named Leonardos and Jones captains because of the team’s need for leadership with nine incoming freshman players.
Leonardos, an El Granada, California native, started in 33 games last season and finished with a 0.354 batting average, 30 runs batted in, and a conference-best 11 home runs. She also earned First Team All-Conference and Academic All-Conference honors, recognizing her as the best catcher in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.
“[Catcher] is a position that requires you to be a captain,” Leonardos said. “You have to tell people where they’re going and push the pitchers to do certain things, so that helped me transition. It makes me hold the team to higher expectations.”
McElroy said Leonardos is a vocal leader for the team.
“Catchers are natural leaders,” McElroy said. “Kallista [Leonardos] does a really good job of being an on-field vocal leader.”
Jones, a marketing major, played in 34 games last season and totaled 24 hits and 20 runs batted in. McElroy said Jones leads by example for the younger players on the team.
“She does everything asked of her, and younger players often go to her with questions,” McElroy said.
Jones said she captained her high school softball team in Woodville, Washington.
“The role of captain is a pretty big role to take on, but I’ve had experience in the past with being a captain on my high school team,” Jones said. “I definitely know what it takes, and I’m ready for any challenges that come at me this season.”
Last season, the Lions finished with a 20-14 record before losing in the first round of the NEWMAC playoffs to Babson College and United States Coast Guard Academy.
McElroy said the team feels prepared to make a playoff run this year.
“We are younger, but we’re very talented,” McElroy said. “We’re hoping to repeat the success of last year and maybe even take it a step further.”
The team kicked off their season in Florida over spring break, where they finished 4–4 in their first eight non-conference games. Leonardos finished with 10 hits in 25 at-bats and drove in five runs. Jones totaled four hits in 22 at-bats and three runs batted in.
The Lions will take on Simmons College on Friday, March 15 at Rotch Field in a doubleheader at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. They will play their first conference game at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Saturday, March 23 at 12 p.m.