When the Endicott softball team jumped out to a 3-0 start to open the young 2019 season, the expectations were high. Three weeks later, the Blue and Green continue to pursue a championship and remain undefeated in the all important CCC.
It’s apparent the Gulls enjoy getting off to impressive starts, as the club hasn’t recorded a loss in the first three games of a season since 2017. Despite the mere four losses, the team sits atop the CCC. However, the University of New England and the Osprey of Salve Regina aren’t far behind as the respective teams hold at least a dozen wins themselves.
Hitting .300 in collegiate softball is no understatement, especially when one team’s lineup consists of five players who can do so. Not only have these players been giving the opposing pitcher’s trouble since mid March, but seniors Gina DeMilt and Jamie Hopgood are on the cusp of batting .400.
Of the 16 contests the Gulls have been a part of, the veteran DeMilt has racked up a total of 23 hits, with five games of multiple hits to her name. The New Jersey native recorded just 10 hits in her first two seasons as an underclassman. Her breakout season came about last year when the outfielder exploded for 37 hits, along with 18 RBIs and eight doubles.
As for the first baseman Hopgood, the opportunity for her opened during her sophomore season and the lefty hasn’t disappointed ever since. In her last 87 games stretching over the last three seasons, she’s tallied 106 hits with eight of them leaving the ballpark.
Not only has Hopgood been productive offensively once again, but her experience has shown at the plate as only nine balls have caught her for strikeouts in her 53 at bats. She’s also invested valuable time in being one of the leaders on the team and takes the responsibility very seriously.
“Something that myself and the other seniors always preach to the younger players is to always give 100% effort, even on the days they only have 70% in the tank.” said Hopgood.
The senior duo of DeMilt and Hopgood have certainly made their presence felt in the CCC. On the defensive side of the diamond, pitcher Maggie Oram has been a driving force for the Gulls all season. She holds the team lead in strikeouts, saves, and the all important wins category.
Oram recorded just one victory in her first six appearances as a freshman, but the last two seasons have been quite the opposite. Her record stood at 12-2 last year and as for this season, it’s in the midst of being a successful one as she’s tallied five wins under her belt already.
Head coach Katie Bettencourt was a Division I softball player at Umass Amherst (2009-2013) and so far, the former player has passed down her knowledge quite nicely in her first two seasons in Beverly.
“Coach always tells us every day is a chance to get better and our team really takes that to heart.” said Hopgood.
As if the 30-6 record in her debut season at Endicott wasn’t enough, Bettencourt was crowned Coach of the Year last year as well. This season, she’s done a great job in managing the various playstyles of her players. As we near the halfway mark on the season, Bettencourt and company aim to deliver the Gull faithful their first championship since the 2014 season.
The club’s previous four games against Western New England and Wentworth were postponed, but the team regroups on Wednesday, April 10th in a doubleheader against Western New England. The Gulls host the Golden Bears for the first time this season with the first pitch being thrown at 3:00 P.M.