April 10, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - With 21 games left in the regular season, the Santa Clara University softball team has already broken the team best record for the most homeruns in a single season with 21. The old team best record was 15 homeruns set back in 1997.
"For the first time in my four-year tenure we have power all the way through our line-up," head coach Marcy Crouch said. "We are making pitchers work hard to get out batters one through nine and that results in more homeruns. You can't go at our number eight batter with fastballs down the middle because she can hit it out of the ballpark."
The Broncos officially tied the record on March 22 with a solo homer by sophomore Lacey Smale against Illinois-Chicago to lead the Broncos to their 1-0 victory. They surpassed the 15-homerun plateau three days later on March 25 against UC Santa Barbara, with freshman outfielder Jessica Clee's solo shot.
Leading the homerun frenzy is senior first baseman Tracie Hall who hit her fifth homerun of the season against LMU on April 5, tying current Bronco teammate Rachel Sherman and former Bronco Kim Maynard with the most homeruns in a single season.
"Tracie has been aggressive at the plate and is not getting cheated with her cuts," Crouch said. "I would like to point out that not only does she have a lot of homeruns, but they have also been VERY clutch."
As an example of her key hitting, Hall came through for the Broncos when she blasted a solo homerun in the top of the seventh inning against 21st-ranked Pacific to break a scoreless tie and lead the Broncos to a 1-0 victory.
Catching up to Hall and climbing the leaderboard is Clee, who is one shy of the record with four homers.
"It feels really awesome to contribute to the team in any way I can and it's really an honor to even compete for the most homeruns in a single season," said Clee. "I feel I am able to be a powerful hitter through the continual support of the team and people who believe in me."
Of the 21 homeruns, the Broncos have tallied 13 long balls on the road, while clearing the fence only eight times at home, silencing critics who say a smaller field at the Broncos' home facility has aided this new record. As a member of the new Pacific Coast Softball Conference, Santa Clara faces new field standards at Marsalli Park. The dimensions of the softball field are 210 feet to straight-away center field and 190 feet down the left and right field lines.
"Yes, the fence has helped in the number of homeruns we have hit this season, but I think we still would have broken the record because a majority of our homeruns have been on the road," said Crouch.
The Broncos' most recent long ball came from sophomore Kelley Johnson. She recorded the first homerun of her career on April 6 in the second day of play against LMU.
"I am still in shock that I hit a homerun; it doesn't seem real at all," said Johnson. "But, it felt wonderful! I was hoping she would throw me my pitch and she did, so I took advantage of it and look what happened. I can definitely say that it felt like I got ALL of my bat on the ball. It was the best contact I have ever felt, something I could definitely get used to."
The Broncos hope to continue to add to their homerun total in their upcoming games as they take on PCSC opponent Saint Mary's on April 12 and 13 in Moraga. Both games are scheduled for noon first pitches in Moraga.
2003 Homerun Breakdown