North Adams, MA- The MCLA Softball team will have a new look in 2017 as many of the Trailblazers who were instrumental in the last few seasons have graduated. Gone is four year All MASCAC performer and school record holder Rachel Quackenbush, but MCLA welcomes a host of new hurlers as they prepare for the 2017 season opener next week as part of the PFX games in Clermont, FL.
The Trailblazers, led by third year head coach Jamie Trudeau, will open play on March 15th during the annual spring break trip to Clermont. MCLA went 11-22 last season and was 5-9 in the MASCAC. Trudeau's squad was selected seventh in the MASCAC preseason poll released last week.
The first question that needs to be answered is who will replace Quackenbush in the circle? MCLA returns Katelyn Henault for her senior season and she brings experience to the mound for the Trailblazers. Trudeau is also confident in a trio of newcomers that includes another Quackenbush. Erika Quackenbush, Kara Adams, and Morgan Watson are all expected to compete for time on the hill in 2017. The quartet should provide depth to the rotation and give Trudeau some options late in contests.
The Trailblazer offense also will have a new look In 2017, but they do return their leading hitter in sophomore Kaitlyn Berghela. The speedy outfielder hit .382 last season and led the team in runs and RBI. She will be counted on to do the same in 2017. Classmate Chelsea Coleman also returns this season. She batted .255 but did drive in 21 runs as a first year Trailblazer. The duo of Berghela and Coleman will be asked to lead an inexperienced offense this season if MCLA is to contend.
Other returners to the field are senior Alex Romano and junior Francesca Belli. Both have significant experience for MCLA and should see plenty of time in the lineup this season.
The schedule begins with the annual ten game slate in Clermont. MCLA will open up against UMass Boston on the 15th and conclude the trip with Bowdoin and Lawrence University on the 20th. The Trailblazers are scheduled to open up at home on March 23rd with a doubleheader against Sage. The matchup against the Gators begins an 8 game homestand for MCLA that features clashes with Lyndon State, Rensselaer, and culminates with the MASCAC opener against Salem State on April 1st.
The Trailblazers then embark on a ten game road swing with MASCAC matchups at Framingham State and Fitchburg State featured during that span. MCLA returns home on the 15th when they challenge Williams College on the 15th and MMA on the 17th. MASCAC road tilts at Bridgewater State and Westfield State are next and the regular season finale is set for April 29th at home against Worcester State.