Winning the ODAC Championship in 2010 gave J.D. McCurdy and the EMU Softball team a taste of victory, something that would not be had in the next two seasons of reaching the Third Round of the ODACs.
This season has a new look, with 11 new players joining the roster, but the goal is still to claim another coveted ODAC Championship, something that has not happened in what has seemed ages to those in anticipation.
Even with all the new faces, the returning core of the team has the expe- rience and accolades to lead this team in the right direction. Senior Courtney Allman was selected to the all-region team last season and is on pace to break EMU’s All-Time Homerun Record, while classmate Sara Jenkins has been named All-ODAC on two occasions.
Third year players Brooke Hens- ley and Molly Smith have also been named all-region, and sophomore Jordan Aylor had an impressive first year at the plate and on the mound.
The fact still remains that there is a lot of inexperience on the diamond this year, so the newcomers will have to step up and contribute for another successful season for the Royals.
First-year Nicole Smith resonates that the team has high expectations even with limited experience. “Winning the ODACs has been the goal since day one,” she says of the team’s out- look. “The last two years have been so successful, we just want to be able to repeat that.”
Many newcomers come from winning traditions and hope to pick up where they left off in high school. “I hear a lot of the girls talking about winning States or playing for really good high school teams, so winning is not a new thing for most of us,” explains Smith.
Additional steps towards an ODAC Championship include a powerful non-conference schedule to prepare for the high level competition of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, including last year’s Final Four finisher Roanoke
College. Conference play started yesterday at Shenandoah with a double header; the Royals went 1-1.
After dropping 4 out of the first 7 games of the 2013 season, the EMU Softball team won 6 straight games, scoring 49 runs while only allowing 8 in that span.
The Royals know they have a great opportunity this year, even with the loss of some key players to graduation. They believe that with their talented recruiting class and proven veterans, the ODAC Championship is theirs to lose.