Softball season winds down

One day they were facing an NCAA tournament run. The next day, the college careers of the seniors on the DePaul softball team had come to an end along with the softball season.

Fortunately, for these players’ last season, it was an overwhelming success.

Head Coach Eugene Lenti said, “The fact that we had as many wins as any team in the Big East is a great accomplishment. We won 19 of the 21 Big East games we played this season. We reached the 40 win mark again, something that is never easy,” said Lenti.

Even down the stretch, the Blue Demons were able to flex their muscle, beating highly touted Missouri 2-1 on Missouri’s home field.

Missouri eventually beat DePaul two straight times to advance to the Super-regionals, but Lenti still held his head high.

“The fact that we were able to beat Missouri on their home field was great. They had never lost an NCAA tournament game on their home field,” said Lenti.

Despite the successes, Lenti was faced with some tough decisions in guiding the team to its solid finish to the year.

“The formula for winning is great pitching, great defense, and timely pitching. We did that in game one, but not in game two and three,” said Lenti.

Freshman Kirsten Verdun started and appeared in more games (28 and 34, respectively) than any pitcher on the staff, but she did not start in the critical final games against Missouri.

“Three quarters through the season, things started to go a little differently for Kirsten,” said Lenti in reference to Verdun struggling later in the season more than she had early on.

Lenti eventually gave the ball to senior Lindsey Dean and sophomore Bree Brown.

“Lindsey got the go in the postseason because of her experience and the fact she very seldom gives up homeruns and turned it over to the defense with groundballs,” said Lenti. “[Brown] was a great follow-up to Lindsey because of her ability to go east, west, and north.”

Lenti sees Brown and Verdun battling for the number one role on next season’s staff, taking over for Dean.

“We didn’t get to where we were this season with only one pitcher. Next season we will have the largest pitching staff we have ever had,” said Lenti.

Verdun acknowledges the struggle she will face fighting for the top spot.

“Going into next season I am not expecting to be the number one. I am going to have to work for it, and [Brown] had a really good season as well.”

While Brown, Verdun, and the rest of the underclassmen will spend the offseason trying to improve for next season, the graduating seniors of this year’s team are looking to life after softball.

Outfielder Alex Morocco, like many other recent grads in today’s world, is uncertain of her future, but knows that she wants to stay in Chicago.

“I plan on taking a semester off and try to find a graduate school in Chicago,” Morocco said. “I would love to continue at DePaul, and further down the road I would like to become a clinical psychologist.”

Like Morocco, Dean is set on staying firmly planted in Chicago.

“I will be going to DePaul Law school in the fall, so I will still be here the next three years,” she said.

Although the seniors are moving into the real world, they still plan on finding a little time for softball.

“I will still play this summer for fun,” said Dean. “I will never be able to give it up all the way.”

The plans of seniors like Dean and Morocco show that Lenti not only grooms his players to be great on the field, but he also takes them under his wing to ensure they are successful in their post softball lives as well.

Even as the seniors leave, the Blue Demons will retain many good players as well as some promising freshman recruits for next year. Lenti does not expect anything to change.

“For next year we will have the same goals as always. Win the Big East and get into the NCAA tournament,” he said.

As for his relationship with some of the seniors that are walking out the door? Dean has the answer.

“Eugene [Lenti] has already been pestering me to come back and throw BP to next year’s team.”