Captain Ravenne Nasser ’15 hit two home runs in Andover Softball’s doubleheader against Phillips Exeter Academy on Saturday to break the single-season home run record. In her final at-bat of her Andover career, the four-year Senior hit a high fastball over Exeter’s centerfield fence. This marked Nasser’s tenth home run this season, breaking the previous record of nine. Her first homerun of the day came in Andover’s first game against Exeter.
Head Coach Peter Drench said, “It set off a heartfelt celebration. [Nasser’s] teammates had been keeping track and knew it was the record-breaker. They met her at home plate with a warm and raucous embrace. This team hit a record number of homers. The long ball became part of their identity, and this was the perfect culmination to their season.”
Even Drench himself, who usually focuses on the overall team before individual players, could not suppress his excitement as he anticipated Nasser’s achievement.
Kristina Haghdan ’17 said, “When players do well, [Drench] doesn’t really go out of his way to celebrate it, but when I was rounding third base, [Drench] was yelling at the ball to get over [the fence]. I’ve never seen him be so focused on a home run before. At the end of the game, when he was handing out flowers to the team, he decided to leave [Nasser] last and announced to the team that she broke the record.”
As of 2011, Nasser’s former teammate Kayla Maloney ’13 held the record at nine home runs. Prior to Maloney, Michelle Hollebeke ’08 occupied the title with seven home runs in 2007. Nasser, despite having played with Maloney, was unaware of where she stood in regards to the record this year.
Drench said, “[Nasser] had eight [home runs] coming into Saturday’s doubleheader, so it was possible but not definite that she would do it. For a player chasing a record, [Nasser] was unusually unselfish; rather than swing at pitches out of the strike zone, she was taking walks, knowing that there were good hitters around her in the lineup and that it was what was best for the team.”
Nasser said, “Some people told me about [the record] earlier in the season, but I didn’t really know the number. I just knew it was around there, so I didn’t go into Exeter trying to break it.”
Throughout her four years at Andover, Nasser improved enormously as a hitter. In her Senior season alone, she hit almost an equal number of home runs as she did in base hits in her Junior and Lower years combined, when her respective batting averages were .174 and .219. Last year, she had a whopping 239-point improvement from her Lower year with a batting average of .458. She reached a career high of .471 this season.
“As a hitter, I look for really good pitches to hit, especially this season. In the past seasons, I’ve had ups and downs and struggled at different points, but this season I’ve been fairly consistent and looked for good pitches,” said Nasser.
Drench said, “Over a four-year period, [Nasser] has developed wonderfully as a player and as a person. Her understanding of the game is now second to none. She also emerged as a fine team leader, on and off the field. Over a number of years stretching back well before coming to [Andover], [Nasser] has worked very hard to become a successful player, and she deserves all the accolades she is now receiving.”
Nasser’s teammates attest to the important role she plays on the team as both a skilled player and a reliable leader.
Sarah Carmichael ’18 said, “[Nasser] is a great leader for the team on and off the field. On the field, she sets the bar at a high level for the rest of us because of how consistently well she plays. Off the field, her positivity really helps bind the team.”
Haghdan said, “As a Captain, she definitely helps us stay focused and keeps up our energy. And as a player, she gets things done. When we really need her to hit she does, so it helps keep the team ready to battle other teams.”
Next year, Nasser will continue her softball career at the Division III collegiate level at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.