In 2001, under the guidance of third-year head coach Gwen Lexow, the Bates College softball team posted an 18-13 record which included wins over NESCAC conference foes Colby, Middlebury, Trinity and Wesleyan. "I am very pleased with the strides we made this year," said head coach Gwen Lexow. "We played the toughest schedule we have ever played and still set a school record for wins in a season." The 2001 Bobcats had a distinctly youthful flavor; the starting line-up included three first-years, four sophomores, one junior and two seniors. Despite its youth, the team proved its mettle by going 8-2 in games that were either decided by one run or in extra innings. "Our young players gained valuable experience this year," said Lexow. "The development of this team throughout the season both physically and mentally Ñ was a testament to the players' dedication and hard work."
With a strong core of returning players and a solid recruiting class, Lexow believes Bates has the personnel to make a serious run for the NESCAC conference championship and the NCAA tournament berth that goes with it. The Bobcats will look to tri-captains Sarah Huffman (Ipswich, Mass.), Ginger Walsh (Hopkinton, N.H.) and Krissie Whiting (Contoocook, N.H.) to provide leadership and stability to a talented but still youthful squad. In order to achieve their goals, the Bobcats will have to fill the void left by the graduation of All-NESCAC shortstop Laura Lent (Clinton, Mass.) and co-captain and centerfielder Anna Wulffleff (Wilton, Conn.). Luckily, All-NESCAC outfielder/pitcher Whiting will return for duty, as will sophomore rightfielder Sarah Levine (Leeds, Mass.). Lexow also expects outfielder Kelley Kugel (Concord, N.H.) to step into a more prominent role after missing much of her rookie campaign due to illness. In the infield, third baseman Amanda Beck (Pleasantvile, N.Y.), first baseman Carla Flaherty (Gorham, Mass.) and second baseman Huffman will be called upon to power the offense and solidify the defense. The Bobcat battery should be one of the best Bates has seen in recent years. Junior Walsh, who led the team in innings pitched, and classmate Whiting, who topped the staff in victories and ERA, will be joined by newcomer Kate Dougherty, an All-State pitcher from Long Valley, N.J. In addition, catchers Brooke Tardiff (Wells, Maine) and Cami Dyson (Arvada, Colo.) return for action behind the plate. "We have all the pieces in place for an outstanding season in 2002," asserts coach Lexow.
Practice begins inside the Grey Cage following a February training trip. In preparation for the playing season, the Bobcats will travel to Florida; there they will train and play 4-6 games against teams from other NCAA regions. The intense New England schedule runs from mid-March to mid-May, with as many as 20 dates scheduled. Bates competes against NESCAC opponents as well as top New England rivals, such as St. Joseph's College and the University of Southern Maine. Home contests are played at the Bobcats' new state-of-the-art softball facility that features dugouts, bullpens, an electronic scoreboard, and outdoor batting tunnel.
A 1990 graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., head softball coach
Gwen Lexow (email@example.com)
earned distinction as a two-time All-Midwest Conference selection and a National
Softball Coaches Association Academic All-American at third base. Playing
and coachi ng for an elite American Softball Association club from her native
Downers Grove, Ill., she has led her teams to four national championships.
She received her master's and Ph.D. degrees in the history of American civilization
from Harvard University.