Softball Opens 2018 Season in Alabama, McCarthy Leads the Way
Mandy McCarthy is no stranger to playing in the dirt.
Not only is she a senior infielder on the Holy Cross softball team, but also an experienced motocross rider. She was revving the accelerator on her Kawasaki KX 65cc long before she stepped onto Freshman Field on the campus of Holy Cross.
“I was introduced to motocross long before I ever owned a softball glove,” McCarthy said. “Growing up, we would have people over to celebrate Supercross Sunday instead of Super Bowl Sunday.”
McCarthy’s father is an experienced rider and showed the sport to McCarthy and her sister. The Pearl River, N.Y. native eventually learned to ride on her own and followed in her father’s footsteps.
“My dad would take my sister and me either to tracks hidden in the woods or to Walden Playboys race track in Wallkill, N.Y.,” McCarthy said. “As you can tell even by the name of the Walden track, motocross is a male dominated sport.”
Women’s motocross has come a long way since the first Powder Puff Classic in 1974, but it is still an unusual sport for those who have not grown up around it.
“As there were very few girls racing at Walden, I refused to wear the pink gear being advertised, and instead I insisted on wearing all black, so that no one would realize I was a girl,” McCarthy explained.
She competed for a few years at Walden and won one race in her short career, but eventually traded the motocross helmet for a softball glove. McCarthy credits motocross for her ability to train harder and faster for softball now.
“I look to professional motocross riders today for inspiration on how to fuel my body, how to train harder, and how to overcome adversity,” McCarthy noted. “The best riders will also say that, to be successful on the track, you need to be riding just beyond where you feel comfortable - keeping things in control, but never allowing yourself to get too content.”
The senior uses this mentality on the softball field to push herself and her teammates past the levels they are comfortable playing at. Staying satisfied will only hold you down, and McCarthy has learned that the only way to get better is to rev the engines forward and never look back.
Holy Cross Set to Begin Season at Alabama State
The Holy Cross women’s softball team will open the 2018 season in Montgomery, Ala. in the Black and Gold Tournament hosted by Alabama State University.
The Crusaders will play their first game on Friday, Feb. 16 at 10:30 a.m. against Middle Tennessee State. Throughout the weekend, Holy Cross will also face off against Tennessee-Martin, Nicholls State, Appalachian State and Alabama State.
- The Crusaders will welcome back 14 returners while adding four freshmen.
- Senior Mandy McCarthy leads the Crusaders coming off of the 2017 season with 42 hits, 14 runs and a .347 batting average. The senior infielder also had three homeruns last year and tallied a .958 fielding percentage and .471 slugging percentage.
- Junior Taylor Wahler also returns for the Crusaders. Wahler recorded 45 hits, 23 runs and .319 batting average last season.
- Returning to the circle are juniors Alex Held and Olivia Sloane, along with senior Katy Watson and sophomore Katie Barbarick.