Having only eight games remaining in the 2016 season, this year’s Fairfield softball squad has their expectations set high with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Tournament right around the corner.

Currently 21-17, the team has six more wins than last year’s team did on this day, the same 2015 team that went on to win the MAAC Tournament. Winners of five of their last six games, the Stags seem to have all the momentum necessary as they reach the most crucial part of the season.

The Stags are also 8-4 in MAAC play thus far into the season and all of their remaining games will be against conference opponents. Playing well in these games will be instrumental toward obtaining a top seed in the MAAC Tournament.

The team has a number of players to thank for this season’s success, starting with the seniors. Outfielder Lauren Felicia has led the team in getting on base, hitting a blistering .435 average to go along with 57 hits. She also leads the team in runs with 31, on base percentage at .476 percent and 23 stolen bases in 25 attempts. Starting in all 40 of the team’s games at this point, she has struck out just five times, making herself a staple at the top of the lineup. A true five-tool threat, she can hit, run, score, field and throw.

On the other side of the diamond, pitcher Lauren Falkanger ‘16 has been dominant in her final season, pitching to the beat of a 11-2 record and 2.70 earned run average. Starting in 13 games this season, she has eight complete games and has allowed just 31 earned runs.

Also twirling gems for the Stags this season, Destinee Pallotto ‘18 trails just Falkanger with a 2.86 ERA. Though her record stands at 8-9, she has started a season-high 17 games, consisting of nine complete games and a shutout. She leads the team in strikeouts by 40 with 97 missed bats and has walked just 22 batters.

Back on offense, the most run production has come from Courtney Hankins ‘19. Playing at catcher and third base, Hankins leads the team with 10 doubles and 31 runs batted in. She is second on the team in average and home runs in her first season with the Stags, sporting a lofty .355 average to go along with four round trippers. Though these statistics are greatly benefitting the Stags this year, she should only improve with maturity and experience over her next three seasons.

Another slugger on the team is outfielder Angelina McGuire ‘18, the Stags’ home run leader with seven dingers. She is second on the team in RBIs with 27 and runs with 26.

This offensive burst is complemented by catcher Tori Reed ‘17, who also has 26 runs scored on the season. Starting in all 40 of the team’s games, she has nine doubles to go along with 17 RBIs and doubles as a speedster with seven steals in eight attempts.

Although these six players are the ones with the most potent statistics on offense and defense, it takes an entire lineup and defensive alignment to win games and that is exactly what the team is doing. The lineup is consistent throughout and each of the pitchers complement each other between innings.

The road to the MAAC Tournament begins on Thursday, as the Stags will travel to Riverdale, N.Y. for a doubleheader against the Manhattan Jaspers, their last road games of the regular season.

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---- Senior | Editor-in-Chief Emeritus ---- Journalism/Communication

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