Cardinals Looking for Repeat of NESCAC Tournament Appearance as 2008 Season Unfolds
Coming off a record-breaking season in 2007 and making a first-ever appearance in the NESCAC tournament, the Cardinals have more than enough material to repeat and possibly improve upon its effort as the 2008 season approaches. With 10 letterwinners back, including two of the top three pitchers and six other starters, Wesleyan has the bulk of last year's talented squad, which put together a team-record 12-game win streak and fashioned a best-ever 21-15 mark, to work with. The team's biggest loss will be four-year starting pitcher and RBI leader Molly Gaebe '07, who graduated. Team co-captains Marcia Whitehead '08 (main photo) and Becca Feiden '08 (photo insert upper right) will spearhead the charge this season. Whitehead, who already holds the Wesleyan career record for hits with 122, batted a team-leading .398 a year ago and was a second-team all-NESCAC and third-team all-New England choice. Starting every game at third base, Whitehead posted an outstanding .928 fielding percentage. Feiden started 35 games in center field and hit a sound .305 and had a team-high 10 stolen bases. Also back as a post-season honoree last season is NESCAC first-team pick Meaghan Dendy '10, one of the team's pitchers with a 7-5 record, 3.30 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 70 innings worked. At the plate, she led the team with 33 runs while hitting .385. When not on the mound, Dendy could usually be found in left field. Other returning starters include shortstop Molly O'Connell '09 (.343 average), second baseman Katie Grogan '09, catcher/designated player Joanna Brownson '08 (.321 average) and the combination of Alicia Collen '08 and Julia Chamberlin '09, who split duties in the outfield. Karla Hargrave '08 who paced the team in innings pitched last year with 78.1 while going 5-6 with 67 strikeouts, will join Dendy as the one-two punch on the mound. Sara Shor '10, who started eight games at first base, also returns. Four newcomers round out the squad with transfer Taylor Zavadsky '10 a talented catcher, and first-years Talia Bernstein '11, Lily Thalheimer '11 and Anu Rimal '11 all capable of giving the Cardinals a lift this season. The 2008 campaign begins out west for the third year in a row as the team will play four double-headers against local squads starting with La Verne Wed., March 12. The Cardinals will play their final six game in California in the Sun West Tournament in Orange County against four colleges from Minnesota, one from Washington and NESCAC rival Tufts. The team will play its first home game Fri., March 28 vs. Hamilton in a NESCAC West matchup, unveiling its newly constructed field. Located in the same area as the previous field, the new field has been turned 180 degrees to keep the sun behind the outfielders during play (see accompanying section on new field construction to the left).