After ending last season 44-11, DePaul’s softball team is eager to start their 2015 season in Honolulu as the reigning Big East champions against Oklahoma Feb. 5-7 at the Hawaii Paradise Classics.
With a competitive Big East Conference, the Blue Demons’ goals are simple: win the Big East regular season, win the Big East post season tournament, make it to the NCAA tournament and take it even further to the College World Series.
Head coach Eugene Lenti’s strategy is pretty straight forward for winning the Big East again and beating tough teams like St. Johns and Villanova, who have great pitchers to look out for.
“(We will) try to be aggressive on offense with great pitching, play a great and solid defense behind your pitching, and have timely hitting,” he said.
Lenti is aware that all of the teams in the conference are tough and he respects everyone for that. He just wants the girls to show their opponents respect and give their best effort in every game.
Although having new strengths and weakness in team players from last year, the girls still want to keep going from where they started last season.
Junior Morgan Maize, who is playing second base this season, said communication is key.
“We all just need to get on the same boat, we lost a couple of people who were big leaders for the team, and a lot of positions have been switched around, but we learn how to work together and to lift each other up,” Maize said.
The four seniors on the team, Brittany Boesel, Staci Bonezek, Ali Lenti and Mary Connolly, aim to be the core strength for the team this season. Lenti is looking for the rest of the team’s strength to come from these four.
Wanting to be more of a leader to her teammates and not a coach, Connolly, a pitcher, wants her teammates to walk side by side with her rather than behind her and the rest of the seniors.
Practicing every day, twice a day, in between classes and sometimes on weekends, there is no doubt in Connolly’s mind that all of their hard work and dedication will pay off this upcoming season.
“We have to come together in the best way possible, and come out strong, start strong and finish strong, and remember that this is more of a marathon rather than a sprint to May,” Connolly said.
To prepare for Oklahoma in a few weeks, the team is always looking for their pitching core Maxine Rodriguez, Connolly, and Megan Leyva to lead the way in every game.
“Oklahoma is a powerhouse, but so are we,” Connolly said.
The Blue Demons face a tough challenge against Oklahoma in Hawaii. The Sooners made it to the College World Series last year.
But the Blue Demons said they just want to start strong, finish strong and come back out on top.
DePaul will play Oklahoma to open up their season on February 5 at 10:30 am.