by Robbie Sequeira, Luke Tracy and Isaiah Martinez
The last time the Franklin Pierce Softball program registered a winning season, only five current players were born.
In 1996, the last winning season for the softball program, new Head Coach Hannah Griffin was only eight years old.
When Bruce Kirsch hired Griffin, he felt that the 8 year difference between the coach and players could be an advantage.
However as the program’s first head coach, Kirsch acknowledges the challenges that Griffin faces.
The now FPU athletics director, Kirsch, hopes that Griffin can bring something to the program that they haven’t had in their 28 year history: stability at the coaching position and consecutive winning seasons.
Since its inaugural 8-16 season, the program has had 12 different head coaches, with only one winning season, a 16-14 finish in 1996.
“When we hired Hannah, we knew she was just the personality needed to steer this up and coming team in the right direction,” said Kirsch.
Franklin Pierce is the first coaching NCAA coaching gig for the 28-year old Griffin, who coached NAIA’s Union College Bulldogs to a 75-75 record in her three seasons, including two postseason trips.
In the past five seasons, the Ravens have had three head coaches, in that span the team have a record of 63-153.
There are many challenges facing Griffin, who is making the transition from NAIA to NCAA, including a different pace of play and managing a very inexperienced team.
At Union, Griffin coached an All-American and nine All-Conference players all conference. Franklin Pierce has yet have an All-Conference player, much less an All-American since their inception in 1989.
Griffin will have to adjust to the difference in play from JuCo softball to Division II NCAA softball.
“NCAA softball is a much faster and competitive game,” said team manager Zach Wheeler.
“However, the goal, no matter what level, is always winning and make sure the season results in a postseason bid.”
Wins eluded the Ravens last season in large part to their inability to prevent runs, ranking toward the bottom in team ERA.
Griffin, a four-year collegiate pitcher at both Southern Mississippi and Western Alabama hopes to pass on her pitching tools to a young staff that its two seniors aces, Tricia Hansen and Mandi Adee.
Sabrina LoMonaco and Abbie Paquette, both sophomores will look to bolster the rotation and embark on a breakout campaign.
“I think Coach Griffin having success as a college pitcher, is going make the rotation much better and hopefully lead to more wins,” Adee said.
In the latest pre-season coaches NE-10 poll, the Ravens are predicted to finish 7th in Northeast Division.
Opening Day for the Ravens will be on March 11th against Caldwell University at the Bisaccia Softball Complex.