By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Sixteen games into her first season as the Bridgewater State University softball coach, Lindsey Couturier is finally going to make her home debut.
The Bears (7-9) will be at Alumni Park on Thursday afternoon for a non-conference doubleheader against the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth after having two previous home twinbills wiped out due to the weather.
Bridgewater State went 3-7 during a trip to Clermont, Fla., in March but has won four of six games played since returning home.
Couturier, who played at Dighton-Rehoboth and the University of New Haven, replaced Chrissy Semler on the Bears’ bench.
“Coming in, I didn’t really know what to expect of this team,″ said Couturier, who is the coordinator for athletic external relations at BSU. “Since I started working with these kids, I’ve been grateful because they’re not only good softball players but awesome people and it’s made the transition so easy.
“They work hard every single day. They want to be here. For the most part, they’ve bought into the system I want to bring here to BSU.″
Couturier was an All-Northeast-10 Conference third baseman at New Haven, where she ranks third with 200 career hits in 203 games and batted .320.
After graduating from college, she was a graduate assistant softball coach at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., for two seasons.
“My coach at New Haven (Jen Starke) was just awesome,″ said Couturier. “She was there for me as a coach and a parent since I was far away from home. I just loved the passion and the energy that she brought to the game and I always had the same.
“Going into college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but it didn’t take long before I realized sports management was the path I wanted to study and I didn’t want to give up my time around softball.″
The Bears, who went 15-20 for their first losing season since 2011 a year ago, have seven players batting over .300.
Leading the way is No. 9 hitter Kacie Carvalho, who is batting .475 and teaming with No. 8 hitter Courtney Gouveia of Taunton (.348) to provide a strong duo at the bottom of the order.
“She has been unbelievable for us down there,″ said Couturier. “With her and Courtney Gouveia, it brings awesome speed to the lineup.″
Sophomore Shannon Grindle, a Silver Lake Regional High graduate, is batting .435 and has four home runs and 18 RBI.
“She’s just a very reliable hitter,″ said Couturier. “I can always count on her to hit a ball hard. It’s nice to have that consistency in the No. 4 spot.″
Also leading hitters include Samantha Mulcahy of Taunton (.375 with 15 RBI from the leadoff spot), Bridgewater-Raynham graduate Jenny Hiller (.353), Krista Kennedy (.348) and Rebecca Uschmann (.304).
“Since we got up here, we’ve been consistently hitting the ball, which has been a factor in the winning record,″ said Couturier. “We’ve been working on our hitting since we’ve been stuck in the gym so much and the offense has been firing on all cylinders. I knew we had some good bats on our team, but I didn’t think as a team we’d be so consistent.″
Kaitlyn Shaw leads the pitching staff with a 5-1 record in 10 games, including six starts.
“I think we have what it takes to compete at the top of the MASCAC,″ said Couturier, whose team is 1-1 in the MASCAC. “I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t win the whole thing. My kids have a lot of heart and a lot of fight. They’re not going to give up. It’s going to take everybody on this team.″