FAIRFAX, Va. (DC News Now) — It has been a season to remember for George Mason softball.
“The best way to describe it, I would definitely say like energy filled and like a lot of fun,” said junior catcher Nicole Bechtel.
“Excitement, pure thrill at all the hard work that we put in all year,” said senior pitcher Aly Rayle.
“I have been here for four years now and this season all together and all around has just felt different,” said senior infielder Rachel Warrens.
A historic season for the Patriots softball program. One for the history books.
“Being able to see them grow as athletes and as people in this situation,” said head coach Justin Walker. “That’s what’s been rewarding. Just to see that work that they put in is taking that turn for us to go down that right path.”
Statistically, it has been the best regular season in program history. The team broke the school record for single season stolen bases (131), home runs (23), slugging percentage (.423), doubles (81), and fielding percentage (.976).
They also ranked top 5 in program history in batting average (.285), RBI (208), runs (241), triples (18), saves (4), strikeouts (311), and no-hitters (3).
“We’ve always preached aggression on this team,” said Warrens. “Defensively, offensively, just all the way around. I think we are very much exceeding that this year.”
“We’re consistently putting pressure on other teams that allows us to lead in stolen bases, allows us to move runners, have RBIs, have these big moments for these big hits,” said Bechtel. “So I think just constantly having trust in ourselves. I think that’s really important. That’s leading to these statistics that are coming our way.”
It’s the most regular season wins since 2000, and the most conference wins since joining the Atlantic-10 in 2014. Now, the Patriots get set for their first conference tournament appearance since 2018, and are looking to win it all, which would qualify themselves for the program’s first NCAA tournament ever.
“We are just trying to not get ahead of ourselves and focus on one game at a time, what can we do on this game to continue our success and continue to be aggressive and play the type of softball that we want to play,” said Rayle.
“Getting that bid would definitely be able to show the work that we’ve put in,” said Bechtel. “It would back it up a little bit. We wouldn’t just have the stats.”
“I can’t even explain how awesome it would be,” said senior utility player Haley Taormina. “Especially because this is my last year. Softball has been the only thing that’s mattered from the time I was 6 to now. So I think it would be really cool and show everybody, especially in this area, that we are here and we are here to play.”
George Mason is the 4-seed heading into the Atlantic-10 tournament, and will face off against 5-seed, and returning conference champs, Fordham on Wednesday at 12 p.m. in New York.