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Sylvester, Colvin Return to Lead Fitchburg State Softball Team

February 6, 2019
Fitchburg State's Taylor Colvin delivers a pitch during a March 30, 2018, game against Massachusetts Maritime in Fitchburg. As a freshman last season, Colvin led the Falcons with a team-best 3.61 ERA and 52 strikeouts. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / JOHN LOVE Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

FITCHBURG -- The Fitchburg State University softball team has unveiled its schedule for the upcoming season.

The Falcons will play a total of 40 games in 2019, including 10 games during their annual spring trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Fitchburg State finished last season with an overall record of 13-20 and a 6-8 mark in MASCAC play, en-route to earning the sixth seed in the MASCAC postseason tournament.

This season, Fitchburg State is scheduled to play a pair of teams that qualified for the 2018 NCAA Division 3 regional tournament, while also playing seven teams that won at least 20 games last season.

“I am really excited to see how this season shapes out, as we have an interesting dynamic of seven seniors, seven freshmen and four combined sophomores and juniors,” Fitchburg State head coach Merry MacDonald said. “The core of this team have worked hard for the past three or four years together both on and off the field, in the offseason and in the weight room, so it’s now up to them to show their progress on the field this season.”

Junior McKenzie Lambert returns as the Falcons’ top offensive threat, posting a team-leading .365 batting average with eight doubles, three triples, four home runs, 28 runs scored and 23 RBIs, while senior Melissa DiPhilippo hit .343 with 24 hits, eight runs scored, three doubles and 10 RBIs.

Other impact returners include senior Nicole Sylvester, who finished with a .287 batting average and had seven doubles, one homer, 13 runs scored, 12 RBIs and three steals, while sophomore Taylor Colvin, of Lancaster, returns as the Falcons’ pitching ace after recording a team-best 3.61 ERA with five wins and 52 strikeouts in 71 2-3 innings of work.

Senior Hayley McCarthy provides leadership in the Falcons’ infield after collecting 24 hits with five doubles, eight RBIs and 11 runs scored last season to earn her first MASCAC All-Conference selection, while junior Emma Campbell adds pitching depth after concluding last year with a record of 4-6 with 30 strikeouts in 16 appearances.

Key incoming players for Fitchburg State include freshmen Lundyn Forcier, Audrey Johnson, Courtney Luker and Olivia Pietersen.

“We have a tough non-conference schedule of 10 games down south this season, as usual, while up north some solid competition we will be facing are Plymouth State, Curry and Clark,” MacDonald said. “Within our conference, there is a lot of parity, and on any given day any team can win. You definitely want to show up and battle every MASCAC contest. Framingham State has been the two-time defending tournament champions, so we are definitely excited to get another shot at them this season.”

The Falcons open the 2019 schedule at the Fast Pitch Dreams Spring Classic in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as they take on Albertus Mangus and Iowa Wesleyan on March 10, followed by games against Norwich, Franciscan, La Roche, Clarks Summit, Greenville, Lycoming, Keystone and Pikeville.

Fitchburg State returns north as it travels to Anna Maria for a non-conference doubleheader on March 21. The Falcons are set to host their home opener on March 23 against Curry College, and then open MASCAC play on March 30 when they visit Mass. Maritime for a pair of contests.

The MASCAC postseason tournament will begin on May 1, with the championship game scheduled for May 4.

Fitchburg State’s complete schedule can be found online at www.fitchburgfalcons.com .

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Important dates:

* March 10: season opens in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

* March 23: Falcons host home opener vs. Curry.

* March 30: MASCAC play opens at Mass. Maritime.

* May 1: MASCAC postseason tournament begins.

* May 4: MASCAC tournament championship game.

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