May 23, 2013

College Connections: Babson losing booming bat in softball

By Steve Craig scraig@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Babson College softball coach Dave Canan said he can think of only one reason why he'll be glad that Scarborough's Catie Funk is no longer on his team.

click image to enlarge

Catie Funk leaves Babson as the program’s all-time leader with a .438 average, hitting 33 homers, 166 RBI and 417 total bases.

Babson Photo

"I won't miss being petrified of being killed in the third-base box," Canan said. "To be honest, when Catie was batting, I didn't even stand there. I stood in the outfield."

The rest of the New England Women's and Men's Collegiate Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) will be glad Funk's career is over for another reason: She wore out pitching staffs for four straight all-conference seasons and was the conference player of the year as a junior and senior.

"She just hits the ball differently than everyone else. The ball comes off at a different speed than any other softball player I coached," said Canan, whose team was knocked out of the NCAA playoffs Sunday.

Funk became the first position player in Babson history to earn All-America recognition when she was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) third team last week.

A two-year captain and four-year starting shortstop, Funk batted a career-high .460 with 18 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs, 39 RBI and 59 runs in 48 games.

Her 63 hits tied the single-season program mark. Her 10 homers matched her school record set last year. Her 59 runs tied for sixth in the nation this spring, and was 14 more than her previous mark of 45 set in 2012.

The efforts were instrumental in Babson going 34-14 and making the NCAA tournament for the third time.

Funk leaves Babson as the program's all-time leader with a .438 average, 231 hits, 71 doubles, 33 home runs, 187 runs, 166 RBI, 417 total bases and a .790 slugging percentage in 170 games.

"It was more about what the team did than what any individual did," Funk said. "Out of all of (the records), making it to the NCAAs was my favorite statistic, not the batting average or any of the personal statistics. To make it there was pretty exciting. And All-America status was my other one. You always reach for it but you never think it's possible until you get there and I couldn't have done it without all the contributions of my team."

Canan said he was confident Funk, a 2009 Scarborough High grad, would be able to hit at the college level right away and was never disappointed.

What was more challenging for Funk was moving from third to being the shortstop.

"We needed a shortstop and I thought she was athletic enough to do a good job," Canan said. "She made unbelievable improvements as a fielder."

"It was quite a change of pace and quite a change of environment," Funk said. "I was used to getting the ball and just throwing it. Having to wait on the ball was an adjustment. I made a few errors at first but by my junior year I'd really settled into the position."

"The biggest thing I'm going to miss is her as a person," Canan said. "As great a softball player as she is, she's just a wonderful person. She came in as a shy little girl and she left as a confident woman."

Funk graduated Saturday with a bachelor of science degree with a concentration in marketing and finance.

She said she hopes to find a job with a Boston-based financial institution.

SOFTBALL

Kelly King of Kennebunk was a junior on Babson's softball team. After batting .398 as a sophomore and making the NEWMAC second team, King hit .190 this year, playing in 30 games with 26 starts.

Western New England College freshman Heather Fecteau of Biddeford made 42 starts in 45 games for the Golden Bears (27-19). Fecteau, playing first base, hit .192 with two doubles and eight RBI.

(Continued on page 2)

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