Led by Belcher, softball team awaits an ECAC bid

Norwich University demands a tremendous amount of leadership out of its students, especially student athletes. A student athlete who exemplifies this is the softball team’s starting shortstop, junior Abby Belcher.

Belcher has been a tremendous leader and helped propel the Cadets on their way to the first-ever Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship.

Abby Belcher contributes to team success with a nationally ranked batting average. (Sheridan Steiner Photo)

Abby Belcher contributes to team success with a nationally ranked batting average. (Sheridan Steiner Photo)

“She is a great teammate and she knows the game of softball. She is there to make you laugh and also be serious,” said junior first-baseman Erin Clarke from Newbury, Vt. “She leads by example, and she is our leadoff hitter who always sets the tone.”

Belcher has a great on base percentage (.516) and hardly anything gets past her in the field at the shortstop position, Clarke said.

Belcher, a native of Winthrop, Mass., has found herself in a leadership position off the field this year as well, as cadre for a freshmen platoon. She is a strong leader across the board, and a key step to her leadership is leading by example.

“I was nationally ranked for my batting average, and other aspects of individual statistics, but I honestly can’t tell you what I’m doing differently as an individual because I don’t think I’m doing anything different,” Belcher said.

This is just an example of the old fable “hard work pays off.” The softball team has put in that hard work and won themselves the GNAC championships.

“I’ve been really lucky and I’ve had the opportunity to play on amazing teams, with players who love the game but also know that it’s not the end of the world if we lose,” she said.

Although softball is a spring sport, the team practices a good portion of academic year. Belcher explains the offseason program: “We start at the end of September and early October. We practice outside for as long as we can and we scrimmage a team for two games. Then starts winter training with lifting,” she said.

The season so far has gone well for Belcher and the team has made history with this GNAC title. But the girls are far from done as they continue and try to advance in playoffs.

“Every team in this is here to compete and win.  It’s a matter of who wants it more and who is willing to fight harder for it,” she said.

On April 24, Suffolk, ranked number eight in the league, upset Norwich’s plans to continue in the playoffs with a 4-1 win. The Cadets will now await and see if they are awarded an ECAC Tournament bid to see if they can get back in the game and fight even harder for it.

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