Avoiding the harsh New England winter by starting their season with games in South Carolina and Florida, the Southern New Hampshire University women’s softball team is off to a great start. Much of that can be credited to a pair of Silver Lake alum and Halifax natives.
At the start of the week, SNHU was 10-0 on the season, in part thanks to the effort of sophomore Maddy Barone and also thanks to freshman Emily Critch. At one point, they were both ESPN Boston All-Scholastic high school softball players leading the Lakers to deep playoff runs, but now they have the opportunity to lead a college team to greatness. So far, they have both excelled.
On the mound, Barone has emerged as her school’s ace. Through 10 games, she has made six outings (five starts) and is 5-0 with a miniscule 0.58 ERA. She has also struck out 37 batters in 36 innings pitched.
There are a couple of reasons why Barone’s performance has improved from last year to this year. First of all, she has more experience in college softball but secondly, she has Critch catching her once again. Critch was Barone’s catcher for multiple seasons in high school and they excelled together; Barone threw 10 no-hitters with the Lakers and Critch was her catcher for three seasons.
Since Critch is also the Lakers all-time home run leader, it is no surprise that her bat also earned her a spot in SNHU’s lineup. She has played in eight of the team’s first 10 games and has collected five hits in 22 at-bats while knocking in four runs.
Both Barone and Critch are still underclassmen, so they are bound to keep improving over the next couple of years as they continue playing side-by-side. Certainly, SNHU has to be excited for the future contributions they will receive from both of these former Lakers given not only the success they enjoyed in high school, but also early in their college careers.