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Softball team breaks program start record

Rollins swept Barry University in a three-game series last weekend, increasing its season record to 19-0 and breaking the record for the best start in the history of the program.

The Tars had the opportunity to increase their record even more during two games last Tuesday.

In 2015, the Tars earned their previous record of 15-0. During the first game of the series on Friday, the team hit that record when they won 1-0. 

The season has just begun, but the Tars are currently the highest nationally ranked team in the Sunshine State Conference, currently sitting at fourth place in the national rankings. 

This achievement follows Head Coach Michelle Frew’s twenty-fourth season in charge. 

Friday’s game proved to be the most delicate part of the endeavor, with Rollins scoring on the very last inning. 

Pitcher Ashley Worrell (‘22) gave a performance for the ages, tossing the fifty-fourth no-hitter in the history of the program. Pitching all seven innings and striking out 10 out of the first 11 batters that stepped up, the sophomore from Oviedo, Fla. did not allow any runners to make it past first base.

The Tars were triumphant the following day as they broke their own record with 10-2 and 5-0 wins in quick succession, taking their tally to 17-0.

“We came out strong in the first game, which carried out in the second game, so we were just out there having fun,” said Worrell regarding Saturday’s fixtures.

In similar fashion, she registered six strikeouts and scattered five hits in the third game, not allowing a single run. Worrell also recently earned Pitcher of the Week honors for the second time this year.

Ali Shenefield (‘23) threw for five innings during the 10-2 blowout, tallying eight strikeouts and allowing only two walks.

Shenefield is part of a talented group of freshmen who have joined the Tars’ ranks and have made immediate impacts. 

Ali DiBlasio (‘23) sits at a .667 batting average, whereas Ashley Troutman (‘23) has established herself as one of the team’s most valuable assets.

“It’s crazy for us that we came in freshman year and helped break the record,” said Ashley Grimanelis (‘23), attributing the Tars’ success to the team’s cohesion. 

Combined with the experience and leadership of returning upperclassmen, Grimanelis said that this was the freshmen’s best start to their collegiate careers that they could have hoped for.

“Everyone’s super, super close, and we all get along really well, so I feel like that team chemistry off the field plays on the field as well,” said Grimanelis.

Worrell struck a similar cord when it came to discussing team culture: “It is honestly amazing to be part of the team this year. There is no drama, we are free, and we just want to have fun,” she said.

Barry University was the third conference foe that Rollins has faced this season, after sweeping Nova Southeastern University and Lynn University. The Tars started the season at the Gulf Shores Invitational in Alabama.

Worrell also drew attention to the unpredictability of college softball, where any team can gain momentum and pose a threat, which means the Tars have the obligation to always bring their A-game.

Despite their accolades and string of positive results, the Tars acknowledged that there is always room for improvement.

“You can always hit better, that’s the number one thing,” Grimanelis pointed out. “We want to keep winning and stay undefeated.”

Worrell acknowledged that hitting on the right side is an area that can be worked on; however, she pointed out how compact the team is this year and how little errors they make.

Last year, Rollins missed out on the postseason games despite leading the conference for a considerable chunk of the season. 

The Tars are motivated to take it further this time around.

“We are taking games one at a time and aiming for nationals,” said Worrell, who said she knows what the Tars need to do to take the next step. 

“We just need to make sure that when we get our opportunity, we go for it,” Worrell said.

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