April 25, 2006
Shortstop Jenna Macchi has started in each of the softball team's 41 games this season, and currently leads the Eagles with a .399 batting average, 31 runs scored, 55 hits and 12 doubles in a team-best 138 at-bats. Most recently, Boston College (19-22, 4-14 ACC) won their first ACC series, taking two of three games from Maryland. The Eagles open a three-game series with Virginia (26-21, 6-11) at Shea Field on Saturday, April 29 (doubleheader). Game time is 1 p.m.
Q: With a 19-22 overall record and a 4-14 mark in the ACC, what have been the keys to your teams successes and struggles this season?
A: This past weekend, we played Maryland and won our first ACC series. That's a great confidence-booster going into the final three weeks of our season. As for our struggles, I feel as if we've had a tough time putting together all the main aspects of the game. Some games, we've had our hitting and defense going, but our pitching has been lacking. And other games we can't get the bats going. Our biggest focus is to get everything together - hitting, pitching and defense - in the same game.
Q: Talk about your first impressions of playing softball in the ACC.
A: I was psyched and excited to get it started. We're playing against great schools and great competition. The three games series [format] is new to us. In the past, we only played a two-game series against Big East teams. It's definitely a challenge because you play a doubleheader on the first day, and then you have to go back out there on Sunday and give your best effort yet again.
Q: Are there any noticeable differences from league play your first two years at BC (pitching, fielding, speed, etc.)?
A: It's a little bit of all of that, actually. Definitely pitching, because you're facing top-caliber pitchers in each game. With regards to hitting, these girls are solid hitters, one through nine. That's another big thing. The margin of error is another big difference because they capitalize on every mistake you make as a team. That's definitely something we have to cut back on.
Q: Three years ago, BC advanced to the NCAA Tournament and in 2004 the Eagles advanced to the Big East Tournament. Having witnessed success in the postseason before, what will it take for this program to get back to that level?
A: Well, one of the good things about being in the ACC is that we automatically make it to the ACC Tournament. That's definitely a plus. But, when we go there in two weekends, we need to bring every aspect of the game to the field right from the start, as I mentioned earlier. There have been doubleheaders where we have come out in the first game and played great. And then in the second game, we get shut down. We need to bring it together right away, right from the start.
Q: You entered this season with a two-year batting average of .246 (69-for-181). This spring, you're leading the team with a .399 batting average and in several other offensive categories. What has led to your strong offensive production this season?
A: I think a lot of it has to do with confidence. I've been really confident at the plate, and obviously it helps when you're producing good stats - in that situation, you really should be confident going up to the plate. Last year, I battled a shoulder injury. I took some time off over the summer after I had surgery on my glove shoulder. I didn't play any off-season softball. Instead, I spent a lot of time rehabbing that injury, and I've come back a lot stronger and more confident. I think that confidence is a big thing as well as getting back into the swing of things. I took a good six months off from softball, and I was really anxious to come back.
Q: This year's team features a rather young pitching staff. Talk about the additions of freshmen Savana Lloyd and Amanda Klimczak, who most recently shut Maryland down twice last weekend.
A: Having Amanda come in this past weekend and get two ACC wins was huge for us. Our pitching staff has had some ups and downs, and I think that will give Amanda some confidence which will be good, not just for her, but also for the team. That should take some pressure off our junior pitcher, Britney Thompson. At the same time, Savana came in on Saturday to close out one of the games, so I'm sure a situation like that can help give her some confidence too. It can help define another role for her, where she knows, `Hey, I need to come in at this point in the game, and I need to get it done.'
Q: Looking at the infield, this team has a wealth of experience with seniors Kristin Allain and Elena Ferrero at the corner positions. You're in your third season at shortstop, and the team has welcomed freshman Renee Ramos at second base this season. How important is having that type of experience around the infield?
A: It's definitely solidifies our defense - it anchors the team's defense in the infield. Our outfield does see a lot of action, but our infield sees a ton of action and deals with all the baserunners. So, having that experience definitely settles everyone else down. That definitely helps Renee out - she's been doing a great job at second base. I'm sure all the experience around her helps her out a ton.
Q: Your brother, Brian, played baseball at the Heights and was named "Eagle of the Year" in 2002. Last season, he worked as an assistant coach for the BC softball team. When did you begin playing softball, and how much was it an advantage to have your older brother to help you learn and understand the game?
A: Well, he's now coaching varsity softball in my hometown, at Milford High School. And I always played baseball with him growing up. I'd play catch with him, and I'd go shag balls for him whenever he would go hitting with my dad. He was always teaching me how to hit and throw, or different ways to do this or do that. My dad and my brother have definitely been huge influences in my game. They've helped me learn and understand the games of softball and baseball. Having my brother there for me has been huge, because I realize that he's basically gone through the exact same process that I have, playing a collegiate sport at the Division I level.
- interview conducted by Alex Timiraos