Holy Cross Softball Diary: On Base With Megan Lally

Megan Lally

Diary Entries
April 19, 2005
April 11, 2005
March 29, 2005
March 15, 2005
March 4, 2005
February 14, 2005
February 7, 2005

April 19, 2005

Needless to say, it's been a tough few weeks. Not only have we lost several games in the last few innings, but I also feel as though a little pride has been sucked out of the team. As one can see from looking at the records and box scores, we lost one of the Providence games in the last inning, and the first game of our Bucknell series after a home run to tie it in the seventh. Nothing truly breaks one's heart more than having to chase a ball to the fence that loses the game...Well, throwing the pitch that goes for a home run might actually be worse, but knowing that as one gets closer and closer to the fence, and that ball still isn't coming down hurts a little more with each and every step.

The team had great expectations going into this past weekend. We know we're a good team that has received zero breaks recently. In the beginning of the season, we were plagued with many errors, and although we were hitting well, we knew that for us to continue to win games, we would need to step up the defense. I would say that we have stepped up, but like any young team, we have still made some petty mistakes that have cost us a run or two here and there. Unfortunately, when a team makes an error that costs a run in collegiate softball, sometimes that simple run is all the opposing team needs. We saw that mistake cost us the 1-0 game at Lehigh, the game at Providence, and this weekend versus Bucknell.

With all due respect to Bucknell, we should have won those games, and if we had pulled off a win in the first game, I'm sure then weekend would have finished differently. We had some tough calls made against us that probably cost us a game on Saturday, and definitely hurt our morale. I am not one to make excuses, and if we were out played, I would definitely mention this. However, I believe that we outplayed the Bison all weekend, yet it seemed like any time they hit the ball in the air, it was a home run; there is very little you can do defensively against a homerun.

I could write a `coulda, woulda, shoulda' for hours. I can cry and complain, and blame mistakes on others, but nothing will change the fact that we have been losing, and now have very little opportunity now for a chance to play in the Patriot League Tournament. There comes a point where a losing streak starts to hit the players, and ours is currently at an unbelievable high. What we would have to do is sweep Colgate, which I believe we can do, and then be at the mercy of how the other teams do in their respective games. This is one of the first years that I truly wished that all six teams would be allowed into the Patriot League playoffs. It seems like there have been so many upsets this year against all the teams, and so many close games, that all the teams in the league are really quite close to each other in playing capabilities.

At the beginning of our streak, the team would joke about what happened to not get any calls our way, to hit the balls right at the other team, and not catch any breaks. There comes a point, though, when the losing starts to affect the team. At this point, we need to enjoy each other's company; this is one of the last times that we will see the seniors. Our centerfielder, MB, made the school's valedictorian, and it was such a proud moment for all of us when she told us during warm-ups before a game. Holy Cross has the top 30 students write a speech, and then choose the best from that group of speakers to be the valedictorian. Shay was practically in tears when we heard, and it was so awesome to know that someone who could have the perfect balance of school, sports, and a social life. I was next to her when she saw her parents for the first time after finding out, and it was so awesome to see her parents react like they did; they were so proud, and it made me miss my own family. So even when times seem to be at their worst, we always have something to be proud of; and that's what we're aiming for now, and for the rest of our careers here: A respectable amount of pride and achievement.

Hoping for a huge comeback this week,
Megan Lally

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April 11, 2005

The past two weeks have shown us how good we are, and how much our record does not reflect that. We split the first day's games with Army, which we had to play on Friday because of the enormous amounts of expected rainfall that weekend, and hoped to play again on Sunday to close the series. The highlight of the weekend though was Saturday. After walking back from the Psychology Building, Beaven, I saw the Army Softball bus drive away from our main library, Dinand. I just assumed that the team was going on a (very) short tour of our tiny campus, and continued walking. I called one of our team captains, Alycia, asking about classes a few minutes later, and she replied that she was in the library with the Army Softball Team. She told me to come over and give distractions, and I figured I had enough printing out to do, and my roommate was deathly ill, so I did all my typing in the library that day.

I missed the supposed hilarious lost in translation-esque conversation that happened that day between our captains and the Army girls, but they were delightfully retold to me by Johnson as I wandered lost through our stacks of books that afternoon. Although Holy Cross is a very safe campus, we do have signs posted throughout Dinand, reminding students to keep valuables at one's side. Although it's usually ignored, as laptops are left at stations throughout the library, the Army team found this to be hilarious since they have strict stealing policies at West Point. My favorite quote of the day, however, was when the Army assistant coach asked if the library would still be open at 5:00, and one of his players replied, "They don't have bedtime, coach."

The weekend ended unhappily, we lost two tough games, but had high hopes after Friday knowing we could come back from a big deficit. We brought that into our game against UConn, and once again, we played an awesome game, but Erica, our freshman pitcher, had a tough first inning. Finally, we played Lehigh, the first place team this past weekend, and played them tough. Our team has been in a little bit of a hitting slump, so that did not help our chances to win, and neither did (what seemed to be) a season high of errors. Overall though, we were only blown away in the last game, and we still thought we had a chance with two runners on in the seventh; MB lined out for a double play to end the game.

We're still in fourth place in the Patriot League, which means that we are still qualified for the Patriot League Tournament. We were upset last year, and it would be a great disappointment again this year if we did not qualify. We play Bucknell this weekend, the team that upset us last year. It's tough to keep losing when you know you're a much better team than what shows up on the win column, but we're going to keep on trucking; good things will happen.

Thanks for reading!
Megan Lally

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March 29, 2005

This past weekend was our first weekend of Patriot League play. This meant a new season of bus travel, searching for good movies that we own on VHS, and our team favorite, Subway for most every meal while traveling on the MassPike. Thanks to predicted rain, we were told to bring lots of work and entertainment in case we had to stay until Monday to play all four games, so as Dezi and I walked up to the field house to meet the bus and the team, one would think that we were going to be gone for a week with the amount of luggage that we were both carrying (though I promise the uniform takes up half of my suitcase....I'll keep telling myself that). Our teammates were armed with computers to play DVDs, board games, and cards; only Lindsey, the Bio major, seemed to take the school work part to heart, and carried all her books and only one extra shirt to sleep in.

We started off the League Games versus Lafayette in Pennsylvania, but thanks to lots of rain, we ended up playing at Patriot's Park. Unfortunately for us, rain and snow had postponed our first set of doubleheaders for the season against the strong local teams, Boston College and Boston University, and the first game against Lafayette were our first games since Florida a few weeks ago. The first game, we came out swinging strong, and scored a run right away in the first, which was awesome, but we did not stay that way. With a 1-12 record, we knew that Lafayette would have a fire in them, but after a few errors in the middle of the game, our defense imploded, and we were down four runs by the end of the inning. We came back though, and lost on a nicely executed squeeze in the seventh. In the next game, though well played, we allowed too many scoring opportunities, including having them score first, and once again had to climb our way back up to lose again in the eighth.

Easter Sunday, we played more like showcased in Florida. The weather forecast predicted flash flood warnings for later that night, so we had to get the games started as soon as possible. The Church across the street from Patriot's Park though, had booked an Easter egg hunt on the field, which pushed our games back quite a while. It was fun though to watch the kids run over eggs and scurry to find the most. I think it made some girls miss their families, even though a good number showed up for the previous day's games. Even I was getting a visitor for Sunday's games. My boyfriend, Keith, attends the US Air Force Academy, and was out for spring break, so he and his roommate, who lives nearby, were coming to watch the day's events! The second day's games started off great. I hit a home run in the first inning, which was extremely exciting, but I realized Keith had not shown up yet. Turns out I gave them the wrong directions, and the two of them ended up somewhere in New Jersey. I did however say the field was 10 minutes away, while New Jersey is NOT; I think common sense was a little to blame....

We won the first game 13-0, which was a true testimony to how this team could and should play the rest of the season, and the second game, I led off with another home run, so Keith did get to see one, which made me overjoyed. We had another great game, and won 9-4, after giving up several runs in the last inning. Our bats really came alive Sunday though. We had five home runs from Fitz, MB, Kelly O'Neil, and I, and multiple hits were scattered throughout the line-up for a great pick-us-up.

As I am writing, our game for Boston College, rescheduled for today, is once again rained out (grrr), so it's another practice in the fieldhouse. Hopefully, we get some games in before the always good Army this weekend. Army's forte is running, and forcing us to make mistakes, but I think they, along with the remainder of the Patriot League Teams, will be surprised at our talent this year.

Happy Easter!
Megan Lally

 

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March 15, 2005

Although a 4-6 record coming out of Florida may not sound great to most people, it was a huge stride for Holy Cross Softball. We lost to some of the teams that we should not have lost to, but we were able to beat a few of the teams we shouldn't have. The week started off with a great come-from-behind victory over St. Peter's, and although we were excited about the win, the many forced errors in the first inning of the game were a sign that it should not have been as close at is actually was. In the next game, which resembled a score found on a Nintendo Home Run Derby, we were blown away, so our quick start was given a very immediate dose of reality.

One thing that really impressed me, and the rest of our team and fans, was how much some of the players really stepped up this week. Although we have been practicing since the second week of second semester, one cannot truly get a feel of the dirt, the wind, and the other elements of the softball field. Despite our lack of outdoor practices, we really held our own. Jayme did an amazing job at shortstop, and although she has always played second base, she seemed like a seasoned veteran covering balls in the hole at short. Webby (Amanda Webster), had a very solid week hitting, and surprised many of us at how well she handled not only the bat but first base as well. Luckily, not too many of the balls had to be dug out of the dirt, or pulled down from over her head, but even when an imperfect ball was thrown, she was able to pull everything together, excitingly. Dez (Nikki Dessingue) had a great week on the field, and got a lot of diving balls to her left which kept a ton of players off the bases, and finally, Sheena, our pitcher, who hurt herself 2 weeks ago, had her first game against the threatening Toledo team, and held them to an astonishing 2 runs through 5 innings. No matter what the box scores say, the team held its own for the majority of the games, and a record of 7-3 would reflect a truer weekend than our 4-6 start.

As I mentioned in the previous entry, Florida is not solely an athletic event. Although it does allow us to get to know each other off the field, it's great to have the chance to really get to live with other members of your team, and see what they're like when softball isn't the only thing on their minds. Our team was split into two houses, which we nicknamed by the addresses, 925 and 1035, respectively. My house, ahem, the obviously better house, was 1035, and included the ever important Jacuzzi and heated pool where we spent many hours after the games chatting about the day, our school, and our lives. The houses this year were amazing; each included flat screen TVs and DVD players in most every room, and a foosball, air hockey, and pool table in the garage. If you thought that a team was competitive on the diamond, well, step into the garage of 1035, and you could swear that pool or foosball was a life or death matter. Jayme and Lindsey played what they called "Around the Garage in 80 Days", for literary works apparently follow us wherever we go, and spent hours at night screaming, and psyching out the opponent, as well as keeping some awake! We spent many nights talking, don't worry Coach, we were usually in bed long before lights out, and really getting to know one another, which undoubtedly assists us on the field when working with other players. Getting to know one's strengths and weaknesses on the field also has a large part with getting to know strengths and worries when off the field as well.

The rest of the regular season kicks off on Sunday when we travel to Boston University, in the event that it doesn't snow. The Terriers are always a good team, and it will be a great challenge for us, but I believe that we have a great team this year, and I think we can handle most anyone.

Goodbye for now!
Megan Lally

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March 4, 2005

This is the big week. Softball heads to Florida on Saturday March 5th to play 10 games against some pretty big name teams. Every year, the team heads to Orlando for the full week to play a round-robin tournament, which means that it doesn't matter whether we win or lose, because we play no matter what. This year however, it DOES matter. We have the ability to do so well this year, and it seems that the talent is there, we just have to be able to put it all together.

Finally, all the hours of playing in the hot, dry, field house, lifting up at our varsity gym, and the last two freezing Sundays outside will pay off. This past Tuesday, our team played in a nearby dome against crosstown-rival Assumption College. We lost 2-1 on a home run, but the score really didn't matter. There were little errors, the communication was almost there, and everyone hit fairly well. It was a great opportunity to see live pitching from pitchers other than our own. I must say, I couldn't care if Randy Johnson pitched at Assumption, as long as it wasn't Michelle Greene, our ace; we've developed a little bit of a pitching-hitting duel, and she's been getting the best of me lately.

We leave Saturday at the abominable hour of 5:30 a.m. from Holy Cross, but with weather with wind chill in single, or even negative single digits occasionally, it is going to be so nice to be able to walk outside in sandals and shorts in our free time. I'm looking forward to the weekend because my parents and my one of my sisters, Kathleen, will be down to watch the games. I guess the warm weather draws the crowds, for my parents usually come to one weekend during other Patriot League teams. The weather is much too cold for us Californians here in Worcester - cold for us is 65 degrees. The break, although it might not seem like one with al the games, really is a chance for us to get some rest, do some work, and gain some team bonding. One would be surprised that even though we are together a lot in practice, little is actually spoken about. Much of our bonding and getting to know each other times come in the restaurants and van rides to and from games. There's also a tradition of a pump up tape for the games, and this year, the seniors have dubbed in a song for each of us to fit our personalities. I can't wait for some good laughs and good times! Time to break in the new, shiny uniforms with some wins! Until next time,
Megan Lally

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February 14, 2005

It appears that Mother Nature does not want us to play outside. Two weeks ago, we had a giant snow storm that buried Worcester under three feet of snow. After three days of 45 degree plus weather this week, we thought that the team had a chance to make it outside. But, alas, it not only rained, but 4 inches of snow followed, covering Holy Cross in a sheet of ice. It's always a surprise to run out of your dorm on the way to class and find yourself skating across the ice. I think my friends enjoy walking with me on the icy days; the concept of ice and being slippery still hasn't completely registered in my head, and I often find myself stepping, and falling, on the same ice patch that the rest of my friends had stepped around.

Being in the third week of school, balancing sleep, work and softball has finally started to hit the team, and when not practicing, you'll find most of us either studying or sleeping on the weekdays. As much pride as one receives from attending such a prestigious school, it can be difficult to steady all aspects of a student's life some weeks. At times, the last thing your tired body wants to do is go to practice, and exert energy that you do not think exists in your body. What keeps you going though is seeing your team pull it together, seeing all the freshman gaining confidence, and overall, getting better so that you can beat that Patriot League foe that, in our case, kept us out of the Patriot League Tournament last year.

With three weeks left until we begin playing games in Florida over spring break, we need to begin to pull everything together. Holy Cross has always been competitive in the Patriot League, but we need that little extra push to become that team that is feared rather than simply `puts up a good fight.' I think that we can surprise a lot of people this year. Sheena Stangler, our sophomore pitcher who was hurt last year, is finally pitching at full strength again, and hitting against her I think could be an issue for teams - she has some pretty nasty stuff. Our starting shortstop from last year, Jean Connolly, graduated last spring, so as of right now, we have lost not only a major part of our defensive, but our offense as well. We have two candidates from what I can tell for shortstop, and I think at times their petite sizes cause them to think they have a disadvantage. I believe quite the contrary. Beth Richard has made huge strides from the other side of the plate, and her speed will fool some, while freshman Caitlin Deitz has so much pop in her tiny frame. Not to mention some of our other freshman, who will surprise a lot of people in their abilities. And for most of them, I think they will end up surprising themselves with what they can do if they push themselves these next few months. But maybe I should stop giving away our strengths in case there are any other teams reading and scouting!

It's time to get serious like we can this year.

See you soon!
Megan Lally

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February 7, 2005

Hi, my name is Megan Lally, and I am currently a Junior Psychology Major with a concentration in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies. As a student who intends on applying and attending graduate school after my senior year, that line seems to be all about me to applications, scholarships essays and other `getting to know me and my abilities' transactions. However, since this journal is intended to be an inside look to not only my life, but also the 2005 Crusader softball team, I think it would be nice to get a little more personal.

I grew up in Lake Forest, Calif., and attended El Toro High School. I was about an hour from Los Angeles or San Diego, and 10 minutes from the beach; to most teenagers, one of the perfect locations to grow up. As I was looking at schools, I knew that I wanted to get away from the little bubble that I had always known. With my Dad growing up on Long Island, I had always heard about the prestigious New England and East Coast schools that many students fight to attend. I knew that for me to do the most growing up, I would most likely have to get away not only from all the people that I have gone to school with for my elementary career, but most likely also away from my familiar state and culture.

I had always been competitive in not only school, but softball as well. Growing up in Southern California, one of the nation's softball hot spots, I knew that although I had skills, I was not the best of the best, and although I had offers to play at more dominating schools, I knew that my college career would be more keeping score on the bench rather than playing if I chose a school like Florida State. With a competitive, but not overbearing schedule in mind, I turned to the Ivy Leagues. I was extremely interested in Cornell, but my Test scores were a few points shy of the desired numbers. That's when Holy Cross really stepped in.

Holy Cross seemed to have exactly what I was looking for. Small student to teacher ratios, impressive graduate records, away from home, but near a major and exciting city, and finally, a softball schedule that included East Coast Power Houses like Boston College and UMass. I knew that going to a school that focused so much on academics would be tough, but that the end result is what I should be more concerned about; a degree from Holy Cross I thought could really take me places and open doors to major opportunities. The student athlete seemed to not only excel in athletics here, but also have a great athletic, academic, and social balance.

We start our season over spring break in Orlando, Florida, beginning March 4th. So for the next few weeks, we'll be indoors in the field house and lifting. Hopefully cabin fever won't get the best of us!

We have a promising year with more offense than we've had in a while; hopefully we can all pull together like I know we can. The Patriot League is getting more and more competitive as schools are finally opening up softball scholarships across the country. We're improving with practice though, so we'll see what the season has to bring!

Until Next Time,
Megan Lally

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