In the second game of the season, the Colchester High School softball signaled it aims to make some noise this season. The Lakers downed perennial power BFA-St. Albans, beating the Comets for the first time in 11 seasons.
“We have really high hopes for this year,” said Colchester coach Alicia Nelson. “We sat down at the beginning of the season and talked about our goals and the girls said quarterfinals for sure.”
Leading the surge is Emi Eakin, the Lakers ace who’s been in the circle in each of their four wins, which included a pair of shutout efforts.
“It’s her experience, she’s been playing since she was a freshman on varsity, it’s experience with her,” Nelson said. “She plays in the summer, she comes in and pitches on the weekends, she just does whatever she needs to get it done.”
Eakin’s presence, and improved play at the plate and in the field, has the Lakers raising expectations.
“This is going to be my fourth and last season, so it would be awesome to go out with a bang,” Eakin said. “I was definitely prepared for (the season) and I hope it pays off.”
Both Nelson and Eakin point to the senior’s experience as key for her this season. Eakin will likely get the ball in every game this season. The team will rely on her not just to be a strong pitcher, but also to be a leader on the field.
“I’ve been working hard these last few years to have a wide variety of pitches and to have the mental game down. I know what to pitch and when at this point,” Eakin said.
“She is probably one of the hardest workers on the team, the girls look up to her,” Nelson said. “She is the backbone of the team this year.”
While Eakin is a key for the Lakers, she is quick to point to the team as a whole as a reason that the team has their sights set on playoff success. The squad has nine seniors, many of whom have lots of varsity experience.
“We have some great team chemistry, we are doing a great job staying focused, attitudes are phenomenal,” Eakin said. “Everything is just clicking.”
Nelson pointed to the players at each position as key to the team’s success, essentially running through the roster to point out who has started the season on a roll. The team’s weakness in the past, hitting, is improved this year and the defense behind Eakin is working hard to minimize the errors.
“In the past we’ve had the hitting maybe, we’ve had the pitching, but its been hard for us to put it all together,” Eakin said. “I think this year we’re just doing phenomenally all around.”