Beyond the Numbers: Softball’s Retired Jerseys

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Softball’s retired numbers. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

By Tyler Gallo, Sports Editor

Every day, hundreds of people walk or drive by the softball field at the North Athletic Complex and see the nine retired numbers that hang on the right-field fence. The numbers 16, 25, 33, 14, 18, 1, 44, 7 and 6 hang there. But do they know who the players were who wore those numbers? Today, we will go beyond the numbers to look back at the careers of the players honored forever by RMU softball.

 

#44: Brianne Morgan, Third Base, 1997-98

The first-ever number retired by softball was Brianne Morgan’s no. 44, and rightfully so. In her two years in the program, she made the All-NEC team both seasons at third base, reaching first-team honors in 1997 and 1998, as the team won the Northeast Conference both seasons. She tragically passed away just days after the team’s 1998 season ended, and the team took the number out of circulation soon after. Her .338 batting average in 1998 ranks sixth in Colonials history. Her number was retired forever during the program’s 4/21/18-4/22/18 series against Bryant, in addition to the team’s locker room being dedicated to her. She was named to the RMU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002. A scholarship also bears her name, and she has the only number outlined in red on the fence. A fitting tribute to a promising player whose life was taken far too soon.

The next eight numbers were all honored on October 6, 2018, in a ceremony that honored the remaining softball players enshrined in the RMU Athletics Hall of Fame. These numbers are all outlined in blue.

#1: Erica Schwanke-List, Pitcher/Designated Hitter, 1995-98

Schwanke-List may be one of the best pitchers the Colonials have ever had. She absolutely dominates the record books for the Colonials, ranking second in saves (4), third in shutouts (26) and strikeouts (688), and fourth in appearances (113), complete games (89), ERA (1.93), wins (56), and innings pitched (659). As for her single-season achievements, her 280 strikeouts in 1998 stood as a record until 2015, when Nicole Sleith shattered it with 296. She also recorded a 1.35 ERA that season, good for the third-best all-time. She is the only pitcher to strike out 15 batters twice and struck out 10+ batters 13 times, and the only pitcher to throw double-digit shutouts twice. She tossed a record four no-hitters at RMU, tied with Tera Prosser-Howe. The Claymont, Delaware native racked up multiple pieces of hardware during her time on campus, winning NEC Rookie of the Year in 1995, Pitcher of the Year in 1998, and made the All-NEC First Team in 1996, 1997, and 1998. She also won the MVP of the NEC Tournament in 1998. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 and was likely the last player to wear #1 when she graduated. She was a member of the team’s coaching staff in 2015 and 2016.

#6: Tera Prosser-Howe, Pitcher, 1991-94

Prosser-Howe dominated the pitching circle in the early days of the Colonials and has multiple appearances in the record books to show for it. Her 1.59 career earned run average stands as a program record and her 1.19 mark in 1992 is a single-season record. She had the record of 24 single-season wins until it was snapped in 2012 by Nicole Sleith. All-time, she ranks fifth in strikeouts (473), first in shutouts (35), and second in wins (77). She threw four no-hitters at RMU. She was named to the All-NEC Tournament Team in all four of her seasons in Moon Township. She was the first softball player inducted into the Hall of Fame, inducted in 1999. No one has worn #6 since before 2007.

#7: Heather Ferrari-Urbansky, Shortstop/Outfield, 1991-94

Ferrari-Urbansky’s name is scattered throughout the RMU career record books, as she was one of the better hitters during the early years of the program. Ranking second in runs (118), triples (11), and RBI (102), holding the RBI record until Kali Byers came to town, as well as fifth in stolen bases (41) and eighth in hits (179). She was named to the All-NEC Tournament Team twice. Ferrari-Urbansky was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000. No player has worn #7 since before 2007.

#14: Lauren Dickinson, Pitcher/Designated Hitter, 1999-2002

Dickinson is, perhaps, the greatest all-around player the softball program has ever had, spending 1999-2002 in the red, white, and blue and dominating while doing it from both sides of the ball. For hitting, she holds the record for batting average (.380) and doubles (41) and hit 17 home runs in her career. For pitching, she holds the record for complete games (116) and games started (114) as well as being second in strikeouts (841), which she held for 13 years. She appears multiple times on the single-season record books, including holding the single-season record for complete games (33). She was named to the All-NEC First Team three times as a pitcher and won both NEC Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year in 2001. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, and nobody has worn #14 since before her induction. She was also a coach on the Colonials staff until 2014.

#16: Jill Spargo, Shortstop, 2004-07

Jill Spargo was an excellent hitter during her time at RMU, sporting a .340 career batting average, and a member of the star-studded 2005 and 2006 teams. Spargo ranks second in three career hitting records, including hits (219), at-bats (644), and stolen bases (48), the first two of which were recently broken by Jordan Gurganus. Spargo’s 72 hits in 2005 still stand as a single-season record, and her .387 batting average in 2005 ranks sixth all-time. At shortstop, Spargo was named to the All-NEC First Team in both 2005 and 2006. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016, and the last player to wear #16 was Mary Funderlich in 2015.

#18: Kelli Miller, Infielder, 1990-93

Kelli Miller was a two-sport athlete during her time at RMU, playing for both softball and basketball. She parlayed that into success on the diamond, thriving as one of the speediest players in program history. She holds the single-season (23) and career (58) record for stolen bases, and her .376 batting average in 1991 stood as a record for 10 years. Her success in 1991 became recognized as a member of the All-NEC Tournament Team. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, and the last player to wear #18 was Geena Badolato in 2014.

#25: Keri Meyer, Utility, 2003-06

Meyer was also a member of the legendary 2005 and 2006 teams, and her 2005 season was the best hitting season a Colonial ever had, becoming the only player to hit above .400 in program history with a staggering .418 batting average. She also hit 13 doubles, five home runs and drove in 35 runs. Her 13 doubles that season also stood as a school record until 2018, when both Natalie Higgins and Olivia Lorusso broke it. Meyer became just the second player in program history to be named NEC Player of the Year that season, leading the team to a berth in the NCAA Tournament. She was a three-time All-NEC First Team member, making it twice at second base (2004, 2005) and once as a utility player (2006). She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012 and coached on the team staff from 2014-17. The last player to wear 25 for the Colonials was Megan Lynch in 2009.

#33: Kali Byers, Third Base, 2003-06

Byers was the greatest power hitter in Colonials history, swatting a school-record 35 home runs in her time with the Colonials, and playing during the golden era of 2005 and 2006. She is the only Colonial to surpass 100 career walks (101), and just the second to pass 100 career RBI (144). She leads the walks category by 34 over the second-place hitter and the RBI category by 42. Her seven RBI on 5/8/05 are a school single-game record. She made the All-NEC team in all four years, making the first team in 2004 and 2006 as well as the second team in 2003 and 2005. She was named NEC Rookie of the Year in 2003. Byers was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, and no one has worn 33 since she left Moon Township.

In RMU softball history, nine players have immortalized themselves in both the Hall of Fame and on the outfield fence. Students walk by the field every day, but not any of them would know what these numerals stood for unless they went beyond the numbers.