The varsity softball team travelled to Taft on Apr. 21 with an undefeated season under their belts. Coming off a 13-7 win over Stoneleigh-Burnham that Wednesday and close wins over both Choate Rosemary Hall and Worcester Academy, the team felt confident despite going up against a notoriously strong Taft team. Last year, Deerfield played Taft twice, falling 0-5 and 2-4, so, as head coach Rebecca Melvoin described, they “knew it was going to be competitive.”
The day proved to be historic as Deerfield took home the victory 3–0 for the first time in more than 10 years. Leading the team was captain Meghan O’Brien ’18, pitching a perfect nine innings with 13 strikeouts. O’Brien also hit two doubles — one down the third base line and another cranked to right field.
Teammate Kathryn Hioe ’20 described O’Brien as “a force to be reckoned with.” Hioe continued, “She is always ready to play and never has any doubts about our performance and what we can do as a team.”
The impressive feat of a perfect game came despite the anxiety of playing a talented team over Family Weekend. O’Brien, a seasoned player, has learned over her softball career to channel these nerves into motivation.
“I’m very comfortable on the mound. I feed on my nerves — I like it. It pushes me and drives me,” she said.
Having lost a close game to Taft last year, the entire team was hungry for a win. It was evident in the mood on the field. Deerfield batted first, and O’Brien’s double in the first inning set off consistent team support and energy that lasted the entire game.
Ms. Melvoin added, “[The girls] know how to pick each other up and get each other going.”
Suzy Mazur ’18 and Hioe hit a double and triple, respectively, completing Deerfield’s hard-fought win.
The team has enjoyed success all season. It was seen from the start during their training at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports over spring break, where they were able to bond and create the trust they now rely on in games.
Gaining confidence from last year and carrying it over to this year’s team, O’Brien commented “[The preseason trip] set the foundation and [helped us] see from the beginning that we could be something. … it was promising.”
The softball team finished the season with an 8-5 record and competed in the Western New England Championship on May 18.