Hannah Byrne is off to a red-hot start to the softball season and as it turns out, she’s not alone.
The St. Anselm Hawks opened their season at the PFX Athletics Spring Games in Clermont, Fla., last week and Byrne was on fire. The former Classical High star started all 10 games and finished with 14 hits, five of them for extra bases. She also had two home runs, two sacrifice flies, 15 RBI and a .519 batting average.
She’s is one of a several former Lynn softball players who hit the ground running during their spring break trips to Florida. Marianne Halas and Genevieve Benoit, who played for St. Mary’s, and Francesca Galeazzi and Bobbie Dee Regan (Classical) also got off to a strong start.
Byrne’s performance earned her not only Northeast-10 Player of the Week honors, but also ECAC Player of the Week. This was her first time earning either honor in her three-plus years as a Hawk.
Byrne has played through some injuries over the years and last season found herself sidelined with mononucleosis to start the season. She healthy now and it shows.
“It feels great to be back to 100 percent,” she said. “I didn’t feel like it (mono) affected me, but it definitely did looking at my numbers. I’m a lot stronger and healthier this year.”
The team is off to a good start (8-3) as well and Byrne, who is a captain, is expecting good things.
“We’re looking strong offensively,” Byrne said, noting that the team has had good hitters, but this year they’re strong up and down the lineup with a lot of freshmen stepping up and hitting over .300.
Byrne said once you get to college you quickly learn that everyone you’re playing with is good and you realize that the mental aspect of the game is very important.
“When I let myself get mentally down, I perform worse. It’s all about staying up,” Byrne said.
Byrne is one of five seniors on the team. Knowing that her college playing days are winding down has made every game a bit more special.
“I think that’s another reason I excelled in Florida,” she said. “I realize that every at bat and every ground ball is one less I’m going to have. I’m going in with the mindset that I’m going to give it everything I have.”
Byrne doesn’t know what lies ahead after college, but she’s a sociology major with a minor in criminal justice. Byrne said she would like to work with young people who are in the juvenile justice system. Along those lines, she’s down some volunteer work at a a group home for juveniles as well as at Pine Haven Boys Center in Manchester, N.H. (a residential center that cares for boys with behavioral, emotional or educational problems).
Byrne may be winding down her college career, but Galeazzi, who inherited shortstop for the Rams after Byrne graduated, is just getting going at the college level. The Salve Regina University freshman spent most of her time at Classical playing shortstop, but she’s a second baseman for the Seahawks. Galeazzi is hitting .385 with nine runs scored and one RBI. One of her 10 hits was a double. Galeazzi had three hits in a 7-4 loss to Haverford and two hits in a 10-9 loss to Sage. She also had a pair of hits against Manhattanville. The team is off to a slow start at 2-8.
One of Galeazzi’s teammates at Salve Regina is former St. Mary’s player Genevieve Benoit. The junior catcher/infielder is hitting a robust .324. Benoit has 11 hits in 10 games including two doubles. She also has six RBI.
And speaking of St. Mary’s, Halas is also off to a great start for the Emmanuel College softball team. The junior outfielder was on a mission during the Saints’ trip to Cape Coral, Fla. She hit a team-high .455 during the eight-game road trip, going 10-for-22 with three extra-base hits. She scored six runs, drove in four and stole three bases. She was a key factor in the team’s 7-5 upset win over No. 15 Montclair State when she drove in three runs. She had an on base percentage of .500 with a .636 slugging percentage. Her efforts earned her a spot on the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Honor Roll.
The Salem State softball team is off to a strong start and Regan is certainly helping the cause. The Lady Vikings won their first six games and are now 8-2. Regan is hitting .286 with a double and four RBI.